India’s first privately developed launch vehicle –Vikram-S – is all set to make its maiden flight from the country’s only spaceport in Sriharikota between November 12 and 16.

 

Background

  • Led by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India’s space program has impressively evolved for the past 50 years.
  • In terms of technological capabilities India ranks among the top 5 space faring nations of the world.
    • India is globally recognised for building low-cost satellites and launch vehicles.
  • Despite having world’s most accomplished space program, India’s space sector accounts for only 2-3% of the global space economy.
    • The global space economy is estimated at US $440 billion.
  • To increase the share in the global business, Government of India has initiated the space sector reforms, to promote, handhold, regulate and authorise private enterprises and start-ups to undertake space activities.

 

About the ‘Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Center (IN-SPACe)’

  • IN-SPACe is an independent nodal agency under Department of Space (DoS).
  • It was set-up for allowing space activities and usage of DoS owned facilities by non-governmental private entities as well as to prioritise the launch manifest.
    • As a part of space sector reforms in June 2020, the Government of India had set up the IN-SPACe.
  • Objective – To ensure greater private participation in India’s space activities.
  • IN-SPACe will act as an interface between ISRO and private parties, and assess how best to utilise India’s space resources and increase space-based activities.
  • It will assess the needs and demands of private players, including educational and research institutions, and, explore ways to accommodate these requirements in consultation with ISRO.
  • Headquarters of IN-SPACe is located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
  • IN-SPACe is the second space organisation created by the Government in the last two years.
    • In 2019 Union Budget, the Central Government had announced the setting up of a New Space India Limited (NSIL).
    • NSIL is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) set up to serve as a marketing arm of ISRO.

 

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Approval in Space Sector

  • Presently, FDI in space is allowed under government route only for satellite establishment and operations.
  • FDI in space is approved by the Government on a case-by-case basis and often this approval takes time.
  • However, witnessing the change in approach of the Indian Government towards private players involvement, Indian companies will be allowed to invest up to 100% and 70% through FDI with approval of centre in all the streams Upstream, mid-stream and downstream segment.

 

Present Scenario

  • IN-SPACe has so far received 67 proposals in the areas of launch vehicles, satellites, space applications, ground systems and research from entities from small to big entities.
  • Moreover, 10 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) have been signed between private players and IN-SPACe, including eight in payload and two in vehicle launches.

 

About Mission Prarambh

  • The Vikram-S rocket is a single-stage sub-orbital launch vehicle.
    • Sub-orbital flight are those vehicles which are travelling slower than the orbital velocity – meaning it is fast enough to reach outer space but not fast enough to stay in an orbit around the Earth.
  • Under mission Prarambh, Vikram-S will carry three customer satellites in a sub-orbital flight.
  • With this mission, Skyroot Aerospace is set to become the first private space company in India to launch a rocket into space.
  • Skyroot’s launch vehicles are named ‘Vikram‘ as a tribute to the founder of the Indian space programme and renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai.