Excerpts of new shifts in India’s space activities in satellite and launcher areas by A.S. Kiran Kumar, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman of Indian Space Research Organization:
A space law is likely to happen soon. What is its status?
- Papers have been submitted to the government based on discussions with academicians and legal experts in January 2015.
- Approval from a large number of departments — the Ministries of Home Affairs, External Affairs [Defence, Finance, Law,] etc is required and is in circulation.
- Something tangible should come out by next year. A Space Act will be finally brought out through Parliament.
What was the need for it? What will it spell out? And what will happen to the existing Satellite Communication Policy and Remote Sensing Data Policy?
Today, space-related activities are done as per business rules.
Government should adopt the process as these activities are defined by the government as it is responsible for any object put up in space.
With a law, all activities will be done as per the Space Act. As, it needs a clarity on what they can do and what the limitation are and moreover numerous industries are involved in space activities.
Some countries have legislation related to space. With more number of countries buying satellites or solutions, anything may happen from collision, accidents, damage from or to a satellite.
So a law is required for the government with provisions to deal with issues, improper incidents. It will also help the government in how it will approach commercial use of space, state regulatory mechanisms, international collaborations and international treaties.
The other two policies will continue to be available as independent policies and there will be no any major change in the overall approach.
There has been an increased start-up activity in space related areas. How does the Department of Space view the aspirations of start-ups and engage with them?
Academia, industry and others will be developed and some of the requirements which cannot be done it is tied up with activities.
Before this year-end, there’s plan to bring out two separate mechanisms for promoting original activities by anybody or any entity outside the department, which is still an early thinking that should be worked out.
What is ISRO’s broad plan for industry’s participation in its programmes?
- Globally a thousand satellites are estimated to be put up in the next four years. There are opportunities for Indian industry to participate in these activities. Building capacity within the country to deal with a growing space market is also one of the activities.
- Many industries that supply to ISRO are getting shortlisted to supply elsewhere. ISRO provide them with support infrastructure [on ISRO laboratories]; information, R&QA, [reliability and quality assurance], etc.