In its quest to increase private sector involvement, the government will soon unveil a new space policy that could see the emergence of “SpaceX-like projects” in India, said chief science advisor Ajay Kumar Sood.
In an interview with PTI, the government’s chief scientific adviser said that consultations had taken place and the final version of the space policy would soon be referred to the Possible Technology Group for further examination.
“Space policy is in the works. We haven’t used it much, but the new technology of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites is a low-cost game. There are a large number of satellites in LEO. It will change space,” said Saud, who took office on 25 April.
He said the government would encourage the manufacture of satellites in the private sector for a range of applications from health care and agriculture to urban development and property tax assessment.
“We haven’t tapped into the full potential of this sector. In 2022, the space sector is seeing what the IT sector saw in the 1990s. We’ll have our own SpaceX in the next two years,” Sood said.
SpaceX, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, is a private space transportation company that designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.
He said there are huge opportunities to use space technology for the benefit of humanity but there are limitations on what the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) can do.
“New launch vehicles are being developed, and new spacecraft fuels are being developed. And that’s going to connect the unconnected. That’s the theme – connecting the unconnected – that’s going to happen when we open up the space sector,” Sood said.
With the opening up of the space sector, he said, there could be satellites dedicated to various sectors such as agriculture, education, disaster management and e-commerce applications.
“Edusat was launched in 2004. And the second version hasn’t been launched yet. So why not let the private sector get into the business? It will happen. For the agriculture sector we can have satellites that can give information about the climate and soil conditions. It can be called. E- Krishi, the thought process is already underway. What’s missing are the satellites,” Sood said.
According to industry estimates, the global space economy is tied at $423 billion (about Rs 3,279 crore) with India making up two to three percent.
Morgan Stanley estimates that the global space industry will expand to $1 trillion by 2040.