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2020: A defining year for Indian space with entry of private sector

Even though the year 2020 would be known as COVID-19 year, it could also be termed as the defining year for the Indian space sector to put it in a different orbit with the private sector as a co-traveller of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

Dec 22, 2020
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Even though the year 2020 would be known as COVID-19 year, it could also be termed as the defining year for the Indian space sector to put it in a different orbit with the private sector as a co-traveller of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

As a part of that, the Department of Space (DoS) recently signed an agreement with Chennai-based small rocket company Agnikul Cosmos Pvt Ltd to access the facilities and technical expertise available in ISRO centres.

According to DoS, this is the first of its kind agreement to be signed after the establishment of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the authorisation and regulatory body for enabling private players to undertake space activities in India.

Under the agreement, Agnikul Cosmos will be provided access to the facilities and technical expertise available in ISRO centers to proceed with their launch vehicle/rocket development programme.

A couple of days later, Syzygy Space Technologies Pvt Ltd, commonly known as Pixxel, signed up with NewSpace India Ltd - DoS' commercial arm - to launch its first satellite using ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket early 2021.

Pixxel plans to have its Firefly constellation consisting of 30 small earth observation satellites by the end of 2022.

The DoS has also come out with three draft policies - Draft Space Based Communication Policy of India 2020 (Spacecom Policy-2020), Draft Space Based Remote Sensing Policy and Revised Technology Transfer Policy Guidelines - to enable the private sector play a greater role in the space field.

The DoS Secretary and ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said a policy for launch vehicles and rockets, space exploration and also a comprehensive Space Act will also be announced.

In effect, after insipid first half, the year 2020 turned a bit interesting after the Central government decided to open up the sector for private players.

During the start of 2020, Sivan had said that ISRO had planned to have 25 launches, including Aditya-L1 satellite, Geo Imaging Satellite (GISAT-1), realisation of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) or small rocket (carrying capacity 500 kg), navigation satellite with indigenous atomic clocks and Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS), and GSAT-20 satellite with electric propulsion.

Sivan also said that India will embark on its third moon mission -- 'Chandrayaan-3' -- and attempt to land a lander on the lunar surface sometime in 2020-21.

(IANS)

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