BENGALURU: In an indication that Space activity outside of Isro is gaining pace, the number of proposals before regulator-and-promoter Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) has nearly touched 100, growing from about 40 at the end of 2021.
Out of the 97 proposals before IN-SPACe, 43 are from startups, while 15 are from academia.
The rest are divided between big industry (20), MSME (4), individuals (3) and government (1). A total of 89 entities have made 97 proposals.
In terms of space activity, satellite related proposals top the table (54) followed by launch vehicles (21).
As per PK Jain, director-project management and authorisation, some of the proposals that are in advanced stage of consideration by IN-SPACe are by: Agnikul Cosmos, Bellatrix Aerospace, Skyroot Aerospace, Astrome Technologies, Tathya, Manastu Space, Dhruva Space, Scanpoint Geomatics Ltd (SGL), Pixxel India, OneWeb India Communications, Hughes Communications, MTAR Aerospace, Ananth Technologies, LBS Institute of Technology for Women and ITCA, Bengaluru – 75 Student Satellite project.
Strategy For Downstream
IN-SPACe chairman Pawan Goenka told TOI: “From about 40 proposals at the end of 2021, the number has doubled. We’d cleared two proposals (Digantara and Dhruva) in June and few more are now in the advanced stages. While there are quite a few proposals in the satellites and launch vehicle segments, some other segments like ground stations and applications, are still under represented. There’s a lot of value generation that will happen in such downstream activity but there’s not enough interest there so far.”
He added that IN-SPACe would work more proactively with the industry to get more proposals for applications and ground stations vertices. “While applications will bring in a lot of economic value, the ground stations segment, aside from economic value, also has the potential for catering to the global market as they can be built here. IN-SPACe will do a strategy exercise to identify various downstream activities that India will have advantage in, while also bringing in the money,” he said.
Startups & More
On nearly half the proposals — 43 of 97 — being from startups which are still in the nascent stage, Goenka, while stating that it was encouraging, pointed out that there’s a long way to go in terms of their financial wherewithal.
“India too has some startups that have good funding but most of them are still in the initial stages. If you see, the cumulative investments in Space startups in India is about $100 million while in the US, such companies raise more than $1 billion annually. So, we are still far away from attracting significant interest in such companies, but I’m confident this will change when we start seeing some success stories. We should be able to have four-five achievements from startups by the end of this financial year,” Goenka said.
He added that some of the big companies like OneWeb, Amazon Web Services and Jio, all of which have plans in the space sector, would also go a long way in adding to space activity in the country, aside from boosting the confidence in the sector.
“While startups will take some time to pick up, companies like this, even the Tatas are in the initial stages of planning, will give the much required boost in downstream activity, including ground segments and applications,” he added.