India to come out with space transportation policy, onboard private players, startups

Last Updated 25 June 2021, 16:13 IST

The country plans to come out with a robust national space transportation policy that will put in place a technological and regulatory pathway so that the private ecosystem can prosper in the area.

According to the Department of Space (DoS), globally, the participation of private agencies in providing launch services has increased and some of them have become significant players in the commercial market for launch services. India is also witnessing the emergence of a "New Space" wherein the private players in the space sector aim to tap the commercial potential of small satellite launch services by developing small satellite launchers for the global market, it said.

The Indian players who are engaged in the launch vehicle development, the DoS said, are also eager to leverage the national facilities already established by the government. The recent reforms announced by the government towards unlocking the potential of the space sector in the country are expected to attract entrepreneurs to invest in cost-effective & quick turnaround space transportation systems commensurate with the significant global commercial launch services market, it said.

The DoS on Friday placed the "Draft National Space Transportation Policy-2020 - Norms, Guidelines & Procedures (NGP)" for implementation in public domain inviting comments and suggestions by July 21. According to it, sustaining independent access to space and the continuous evolution of space transportation capabilities towards human and robotic space exploration along with the commercial exploitation of global opportunities require a robust national space transportation systems policy.

"The increasing number of startups in the country in the recent years, which are seeking to develop independent space launch systems to capture the global launch services market, require a seamless technological & regulatory pathway in the country so that the private ecosystem can prosper in the area while also bringing in innovative technologies including its spin-offs benefiting the Indian economy", the draft policy said.

It is essential to ensure that the independent launch activities undertaken by Indian entities are in accordance with relevant treaties & other international agreements due to the impact of such activities on public safety, domestic & global transport and in-orbit satellites.

"Therefore, an authorisation mechanism needs to be in place to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations and safety requirements," the draft said. The National Space Transportation Policy 2020 aims to unlock the potential of the space sector in the country with respect to space transportation systems.

This primarily involves the creation of a fertile environment within the country for Indian entities to develop launch vehicles and launch them from Indian territory within the framework of international treaties and safety regulations, according to DoS.

The policy seeks to provide opportunities for Indian entities to capture a share of the global launch services market while allowing the government agencies to accelerate focused R&D to build space transportation capabilities for future space endeavours along with commercial exploitation, it was stated.

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(Published 25 June 2021, 16:13 IST)

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