India Opens Up Space-Run Space Sector to Commercial Companies

India plans to open up its state-run space sector to private companies. The Times of India reports:

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced the entry of the private sector in the country’s future inter-planetary and outer space explorations and allowed private companies to access the facilities and services of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

Whil announcing structural reforms for the eight crucial sectors, the FM said, “India has the benefit of an extraordinary space institution such as Isro, which brought the nation a lot of laurels. However, today the private sector is also doing a lot of work in the space arena. A lot of individuals and startups have spent a lot of time developing space-related technologies. Unfortunately, because of Indian regulations, they are unable to use Isro facilities for even testing their products. To provide a level-playing field in satellite launches and space-based services, we will make a provision for the private sector to benefit from the assets which are available to Isro and for India (in general) to benefit from it.”

Sithharaman said, “We will also provide a predictable policy and regulatory environment for private players. We want them to be co-travellers with us. Therefore, the private sector is being encouraged.

In another big development, the FM announced that “future projects like planetary explorations and outer spce travel (like future Chandrayaan, Venus and Aditya missions) will be opened for the private sector. So, the private sector is being given a good access to the so arena so the industry and Isro can work together for a better ‘Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) Bharat’.”

The government is also working on a new policy for geospatial data to encourage private-sector companies.