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Space ecosystem rife for private players: ISRO chief

NEW DELHI (PTI): Noting that the space ecosystem was rife with opportunities for private players, ISRO Chairman K Sivan on Thursday said operational space activities of the organisation will be open for the private industry to take up and commercially benefit from it.

At the same time, for sustaining the existing capabilities of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the New Space India Limited will play an enhanced role in meeting user-driven demands, he said, addressing the Times Now Summit 2021.

"Through predictable policy, and legal framework, the operational space activities of ISRO will be open for private industry to take up and commercially benefit from it. Thus, the Indian space roadmap will be a mix of governmental, non-governmental space engines which complement each other, thereby boosting the economic growth of the country," Sivan said.

He said ISRO will continue and enhance focus on the development of innovative space technology and applications to expand the footprints of the country in space.

"Thus, a comprehensive decadal plan is being formulated to boost the R&D capabilities of the country along with building the technology gap. The requirement of space is also committed to playing a greater role in these post-space sectors in promoting and building the private sectors to thrive in the country," Sivan said.

On the effects of COVID-19, the ISRO chief said the pandemic affected the space agency's plans and also delayed various activities but added that the coronavirus has also given it an opportunity to work in an easier and cost-effective way.

"If one looks at the opportunity in the future of space, the global space economy has emerged stronger and proven its resilience in the fluctuating global economy. Space is thereby well-positioned for growth in growing investment, market development, and employment opportunities across multiple sectors," he said.

Calling these the turning points for setting up multiple fertile ecosystems for space industries across the world to create new job opportunities, encourage innovations and also contribute to the global space economy, Sivan said the government has recognised the need to start developing a local space-based economy considering India's strength in space, keeping in mind growing demand and opportunities in space-based applications.

"The revision of FDI policies will definitely open up huge avenues for powering space companies to invest in India. The policy enables foreign companies to tie up with Indian companies and help in creating a fertile ecosystem for the space industry and industries with new opportunities," he said.

He said that ISRO has a space-sighted mission, and with the revised mandate of the government, the private sector can complement it in space exploration as well.

"It will be made possible as industries will have opportunities to develop enabling technologies for exploration and it being a new area, the industries can really work well here. System requirements and specifications will be listed by ISRO and they will be realised by the industries," he said.

Sivan also spoke about how ISRO will offer its facilities for interface testing along with the space qualification by system run.

This framework will also be useful for the development of novel technologies including AI, machine learning, debris management, etc, he added.

On India's first manned-space mission ‘Gaganyaan’, Sivan said it is one of the most fascinating areas of ISRO and it shall put India in the club of nations with acumen space freight ability.

In fact, this is also the flagship programme that has been announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the organisation is working hard in this regard, he added.


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