From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Indian Space Association (ISpA)
Mains level : Commercial space exploration in India
The PM has launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA), an industry body consisting of various stakeholders of the Indian space domain.
Indian Space Association (ISpA)
- The ISpA is a premier industry association of space and satellite companies, which aspires to be the collective voice of the Indian space industry.
- It will be headed by retired Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, who will be its Director General.
- It will target to undertake policy advocacy and engage with all stakeholders in the Indian space domain. It will engage with the government and all its agencies.
Why is the formation of ISpA significant?
- Million-dollar industry: Governments across the world have poured millions of dollars to push the envelope in term of exploring the edges of the space.
- Collaborated research: With time, governments and government agencies collaborated to explore newer planets and galaxies in search of life forms that exist outside Earth.
- Private players involvement: 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.
- Easing workload on ISRO: 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.
What does ISpA aim to achieve?
- Supplementing space research: 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 excursions.
- Commercial space exploration: ISpA said it would engage with stakeholders across the ecosystem for the formulation of an enabling policy framework which fulfills the government vision of leading commercial space exploration.
- Establishing global linkages: 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.
Who are the stakeholders in this organisation? How will they contribute?
- ISpA will be represented by leading domestic and global corporations that have advanced capabilities in space and satellite technologies.
- It has taken off with several Indian and international companies betting on it as the next frontier to provide high-speed and affordable Internet connectivity to inaccessible areas as well.
- This includes SpaceX’s StarLink, Sunil Bharti Mittal’s OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, US satellite maker Hughes Communications, etc.
- OneWeb, for example, is building its initial constellation of 648 low-earth orbit satellites and has already put 322 satellites into orbit.
Why is satellite-based Internet important in India?
- The expansion of the Internet in India is crucial to the Modi government’s dream of a digital India where a majority of government services are delivered directly to the customer.
- The government aims to connect all villages and gram panchayats with high-speed Internet over the next 1000 days through BharatNet.
- However, internet connectivity in hilly areas and far-flung places of Northeast India are still a challenge.
- To overcome this, industry experts suggest that satellite Internet will be essential for broadband inclusion in remote areas and sparsely populated locations where terrestrial networks have not reached.
- Satellite communications remain limited to use by corporates and institutions that use it for emergency use, critical trans-continental communications and for connecting to remote areas with no connectivity.