According to IN-SPACe Chief, “Private Sector to Play a Major Role” in Small Satellite Launches in 2023 and Space Start-Ups

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According to IN-SPACe Chief, “Private Sector to Play a Major Role” in Small Satellite Launches in 2023 and Space Start-Ups

It appears that India’s private space industry will start the new year strong. IN-SPACe chairperson Pawan Goenka said the organisation is keen to maintain the momentum well into the upcoming year and has a number of exciting events planned.

This month’s next significant launch will be made by Chennai-based startup Agnikul, which will launch its sub-orbital rocket called “Agnibaan” from a freshly created launch pad.

Dr. Goenka stated the government now has over 100 space start-ups registered with it, compared to just 30 two years ago, in an exclusive interview with News18. “More than 150 applications have also been submitted for carrying out launches, creating ground stations, and utilising ISRO facilities. The beginning has undoubtedly occurred, he declared strongly.

Over the past six months, a number of startups have tested and showcased their space technologies with assistance from the government-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). They have developed launch pads, mission control centres, and satellites in addition to being prepared to launch rockets into space.

STRUGGLE WITH SMALLER SATELLITES The private sector will primarily capitalise on demand for the launch of smaller satellites, even if ISRO’s PSLV and GSLV will continue to be carriers of large payloads for big missions. There will be a lot of new, smaller satellites, and the private sector is focusing on that. We will thus have the SSLV for that as well as rockets being created by startups like Skyroot, which will test its Vikram-series rocket for orbital flight next year, and subsequently Agnikul,” he said.

Private Sector to Play a Major Role' : IN-SPACe Chief on Small Satellite  Launches in 2023, Space Start-Ups

These launchers will place satellites into low-Earth orbit at a height of 500–600 km, weighing less than 500 kg. They will be affordable and simple to construct in a short amount of time. When questioned about SSLV’s disastrous August debut flight, Dr. Goenka responded, “Too much is made of the first launch. There are still two more test flights after this one because it was a development mission. Before we pronounce SSLV ready for use, maybe the second one, which takes place near the end of the year, will address the issue we encountered in the first.

AIMING FOR A BIGGER SHARE OF THE WORLD SPACE ECONOMY The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) is keen to enhance India’s part, which now stands at barely 2% of the $350 billion global space economy.

“Right now, it’s around $7-8 billion. However, we would like to see it grow significantly enough that we receive a fair portion of the world’s space economy. The private sector will need to be heavily involved in it, he continued.

The nodal agency has aspirations to use the power of space to enhance everyday living in addition to rocket launches. It seeks to monetize the vast amounts of space data that are being used for several applications with the assistance of start-ups, including disaster management, agriculture, urban planning, and navigation.

GROWING INTERESTS OF INVESTORS Investors’ interest has also increased as a result of the recent success of the private space missions. Dr. Goenka claims that this year alone, $110 million has been invested in the space start-up ecosystem, “far more than the cumulative investment that has occurred so far.”

“Investor interest is increasing. Investors are sending in a lot of questions. Optimism is present without a doubt. But the task is far from over,” he stressed, emphasising that in the end, investors would have to shoulder the majority of the financial burden, and IN-SPACe will play a significant part in inspiring that confidence in them. With the launch of 36 satellites for British satellite company One-Web, the nodal space agency signed its largest commercial agreement of the year.

The government is looking to bring some kind of discount on the use of ISRO’s facilities by the private sector for a limited period of time so that they can catch up, according to Dr. Goenka, a former MD of the automotive giant Mahindra & Mahindra, who was speaking about the initiatives being planned to support the start-ups in the space industry. “It will be made public soon. Second, we are planning to create a seed fund that would give new businesses a small stipend before they apply for their own angel or venture capital. Just to get them going,” he continued.

A STARTING…For the commercial space sector to enter as a technology provider, India had a late start. That has existed for a very long time in many nations. Nevertheless, it made a start by allowing for private investment in the area in 2020. The sector is currently looking for its big break after the recent successes of its first privately made rocket, Vikram-S by Skyroot, and Thybolt mission of Dhruva Space.

“This was a beginning. But now, we must immediately ramp up. There is a lot of possibility to develop if the space economy is $400 billion and we are only at $8 billion. The next two to three years will be crucial in determining how much momentum we gain. We would want to see a multiplicity of launches next year, as well as more investment, if we had 5–6 launches this year, he stated confidently.








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