GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

The Prime Minister launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA) at a virtual event on 11 October 2021. The industry association will act as an independent and “single-window” agency for enabling the opening up of the space sector to start-ups and the private sector.

What

  1. IsPA, based on “four pillars” of space technology: The freedom to innovate in the private sector; making the government act as an enabler; preparing the next generation for the future of the space industry; and ensuring the space sector is used as a common resource for the progress of humanity.
  2. ISpA will perform the role of policy advocacy and engage with stakeholders in the space sector, including the government and all its other agencies, NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) and Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), among others.
  3. These reforms will provide opportunities for both industry and academia.
  4. The expected reforms are supposed to enable and promote private players to carry out independent space activities, facilitate services and technology created by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to be utilised by the private sector, provide regulatory and policy inputs, and inspire and promote an conducive ecosystem for start-ups, MSMEs, and academia.

What ISpA will do

  1. ISpA will be focussed on capacity building and creation of space hubs as well as incubators in the country for private space start-ups.
  2. It will work in tandem with NSIL, a central public sector enterprise under the Department of Space (DOS), which functions as the commercial arm for ISRO and secures launch contracts from customer satellites.
  3. The association will also work with IN-SPACe, which acts as a regulator facilitating the use of government facilities to private companies.
  4. Lt Gen. A.K. Bhatt (retd) will function as the director general while Jayant Patil, senior executive vice president, defence, L&T-NxT, will serve as chairperson.
  5. ISpA’s founding member companies include OneWeb, Bharti Airtel, Mapmyindia, Walchandnagar Industries, L&T, ADTL, and Ananth Technologies Ltd, which have been heavily involved in supporting ISRO with launches and development.
  6. The first few start-ups to become members include Astrome Technologies, Pixxel, Agnikul Cosmos, Digantra, and Skyroot Aerospace.