Explained: Why launch of Indian Space Association is significant

Synopsis: Indian Space Association has been launched by the Prime Minister of India. The industry association will act as an independent and “single-window” agency for enabling the opening up of the space sector to start-ups and the private sector.

What is ISpA?

ISpA is the Premier Industry Association of Space and Satellite companies, which aspires to be the collective voice of the Indian Space industry.

It will undertake policy advocacy and engage with all stakeholders in the Indian Space domain, including the Government and its agencies.

Echoing with the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, ISpA will help in making India self-reliant, technologically advanced and a leading player in the space arena.

ISpA is represented by leading home grown and global corporations with advanced capabilities in space and satellite technologies. Its founding members include Larson & Toubro, Nelco (Tata Group), OneWeb, Bharti Airtel, Mapmyindia, Walchandnagar Industries and Ananth Technology Limited. Other core members include Godrej, Hughes India, Azista-BST Aerospace Private Limited, BEL, Centum Electronics, Maxar India.

What is the significance of establishment of ISpA?

Space exploration: Ever since the race to reach the space and then land on the Moon began between the US and the erstwhile USSR, governments across the world have poured millions of dollars towards exploration of the edges of the space. With time, governments and government agencies collaborated to explore newer planets and galaxies in search of life forms that exist outside Earth.

In the recent past, private sector companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have taken the lead in spaceflight, promising to start tourist flights to space.

Though India too has made significant strides in space exploration over time, state-run ISRO has been at the centre and front of this progress. Several private sector companies, however, have shown an interest in India’s space domain, with space-based communication networks coming to the fore.

Satellite internet: In India, the space-based communications network is being seen as the next frontier to provide high-speed and affordable Internet connectivity to inaccessible, hilly and remote areas. This includes SpaceX’s StarLink, Sunil Bharti Mittal’s OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, US satellite maker Hughes Communications, etc.

What is the aim of the ISpA?

One of the main goals of the organisation is to supplement the government’s efforts towards making India a global leader in commercial space-based missions. Of late, ISRO’s rockets have been carrying the payload and communication satellites of various countries; now, private players will also look to enter this space with the new organisation.

ISpA will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and investments into the country to create more high skill jobs.

ISpA will be focussed on capacity building and creation of space hubs as well as incubators in the country for private space start-ups. It will work in tandem with NSIL, a central public sector enterprise under the Department of Space (DOS), which functions as the commercial arm for ISRO and secures launch contracts from customer satellites.

The association will also work with IN-SPACe, which acts as a regulator facilitating the use of government facilities to private companies.

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: Why launch of Indian Space Association is significant” published in The Indian Express on 12th Oct 2021 and PM to launch Indian Space Association on 11th October” & “PM launches Indian Space Association” published in PIB on 9th and 11th Oct 2021 respectively.

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