Applications from private players to use Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) facilities are being processed in the fast track mode and more companies can apply, said K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO.
This will be done through the new nodal agency IN-SPACE (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre) that was approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday to promote private sector participation in space activities in the country.
Speaking to mediapersons in a virtual meeting on Thursday, Sivan said, "In-SPACe will take 3-6 months to operationalise, however companies can apply in the interim period."
“Private players have already approached us to use the facilities and we are processing it in the fast track mode,” Sivan added.
In-SPACE is a part of the government’s move to promote private sector participation in the space, which Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in May.
The newly-created IN-SPACE agency will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure, said Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday in a press briefing.
How will it work?
IN-SPACE will come under the Department of Space and will take independent decision to regulate private players in space sector including companies and academia. It will have a separate directorate for technical, legal, promotion, safety and security to take independent decisions.
“For this ISRO will share technical expertise,” Sivan said.
Private companies that want to build facilities or need to use them can apply directly apply to IN-SPACE, which will process applications. “These decisions are final and will be binding on both ISRO and private sector,” Sivan explained.
This move will enable startups, academia and companies to carry out building rockets, satellites and providing launch services, he added.
This is also in line with the government’s intention to leverage and commercialise ISRO capabilities when it established New Space India (NSIL), the new commercial arm of ISRO in 2019.
“NSIL is being recalibrated,” Sivan said.
NSIL will take over operational launch vehicles, satellites and commercial activities through an industry consortium.
“We are also planning to conduct an industry promotion meet within a fortnight,” he said.
“In the meantime ISRO will continue to carryout space activities, advanced R&D, interplanetary mission and human space flights,” he added.
Recent times have seen increased industry participation in the space research activity. During Chandrayaan-2, close to 620 companies worked together to make the aircraft and launch vehicle. This will continue for the upcoming India’s first manned mission, Gaganyaan as well.