Number of space sector startups more than doubled in 2021: Economic Survey

According to the Economic Survey, five private satellites have been tested at ISRO facilities, four student satellites were launched aboard the PSLV C-51 rocket.

Chennai: The number of new startups in the space sector more than doubled in 2021 to 47 as compared to the previous year numbers, said India’s Economic Survey that was released on Monday.

According to the Economic Survey, the number of new startups in the space sector registered in 2021 was 47 up from 21 in 2020 and 11 in 2019.

With recent policy initiatives and private sector participation, the Indian space sector is expected to capture a larger share of the global space economy, which was close to US$ 447 billion in 2020.

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At present, India accounts for only about two per cent of the space economy, much behind the major players – USA and China, the Survey said.

According to the Survey, across the globe, the trend of space activities is in a state of transition — from being primarily driven by government, the sector has been witnessing increasing private sector participation not only in the traditional vendor role but also in taking up end-to-end space activities.

With this in mind, the government undertook reforms in space sector in 2020 whereby:

  • the public sector NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) would own the operational rockets and satellites of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO);
  • The NSIL shall act as aggregator of user requirements and obtain commitments;
  • setting up Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe), the regulator and promoter of private players in the space sector;
  • The IN-SPACe will also allow the private sector to use the facilities of the Department of Space/ISRO for a fee.

The interim IN-SPACe board has received close to 40 proposals from large industries, MSMEs, startups and academia covering broad range of activities in space domain — cutting across both upstream (launch vehicle/satellite manufacturing) as well as downstream (Earth Observation applications, communications, and others), the Survey notes.

According to the Economic Survey, five private satellites have been tested at ISRO facilities, four student satellites were launched aboard the PSLV C-51 rocket.

The national registration mechanism for space objects has been implemented, with five satellites registered.

A total of six MoUs have been signed with private/academic entities for sharing technical expertise and facilities, the Survey said.

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