To further boost private participation, the government will soon unveil a new space policy that could see the rise of India’s own “SpaceX-like ventures,” said chief science adviser Ajay Kumar Sood.
In an interview with PTI news agency, the government’s top science adviser said consultations have taken place and the final draft of the space policy will soon be referred to the Empowered Technology Group for further research.
“Space policy is in the works. We haven’t used it much, but the new technology of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites … that’s a cheap game.”
“There are a huge number of satellites in LEO. That will change the space sector,” said Mr Sood, who took office on April 25.
He said the government will encourage private sector production of satellites for a range of uses from healthcare, agriculture to urban development and property tax estimation.
“We have not exploited the full potential of this sector. In 2022, the space industry will witness what the information technology sector experienced in the 1990s. We will have our own SpaceX for the next two years,” said Mr. Sood.
Founded by Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX is a private space transportation company that designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.
He said there were tremendous opportunities for using space technology for the benefit of humanity, but there were limitations to what the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) could do.
“New launch vehicles are being developed, new spacecraft fuels are being developed. This will connect the disconnected. That’s the theme – connect the disconnected – that will happen when we open up the space sector,” Mr. Sood said.
With the opening up of the space sector, there could be dedicated satellites for various sectors, such as agriculture, education, disaster management and e-commerce applications, he said.
“Edusat was launched in 2004. The second version has not yet been launched. So why not let the private sector get into the business? That will happen. For the agricultural sector, we can have satellites that can provide information about climate, soil. It can be called E-Krishi, the thinking process is already underway. What’s missing are the satellites,” Mr. Sood said.
According to industry estimates, the global space economy is pegged at $423 billion, with India making up two to three percent.
Morgan Stanley estimates that the global space industry will grow to one trillion dollars by 2040.
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