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Business News/ News / India/  Space startups get a boost with new govt facility
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Space startups get a boost with new govt facility

India’s space regulatory body will open up its first technical centre to startups and established private companies focused on space

For space startups, availability of capital is a key challenge, which the Union government hopes to resolve by making it easier for companies to attract global investors. (AFP)Premium
For space startups, availability of capital is a key challenge, which the Union government hopes to resolve by making it easier for companies to attract global investors. (AFP)

NEW DELHI : India’s space regulatory body has opened its first technical centre that it said would aid startups and larger private companies design and plan space missions.

The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre’s (In-Space) facility in Ahmedabad will offer shared infrastructure including for climate simulation, thermal and vacuum environment simulation, and space systems assembly and testing environment.

The centre has been on the agency’s agenda since the liberalisation of the space industry for private sector participation in 2020, said Pawan Goenka, chairman, In-Space. 

It would incentivise private companies to develop technologies and help boost commercial space projects in the long run, Goenka told Mint, adding that the centre’s facilities will be available for both early-stage startups and established companies.

The facility will “boost private space efforts and make India self-reliant in space technology," said Jitendra Singh, Union minister of state for science and technology, at the facility’s inauguration.

“As we aim to grow our share in the global space economy from 2% to 8% by 2033, we have come up with new policies and eased restrictions for investments as well as space startups. The opening up of (foreign direct investment) in the space sector is one such progressive step," Singh said.

S. Somanath, chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation, added that Isro will work alongside In-Space to “to boost growth of the space economy and empower non-governmental entities." 

For space startups, availability of capital is a key challenge, which the Union government hopes to resolve by making it easier for companies to attract global investors. 

On 21 February, the Cabinet approved a long-awaited foreign direct investment policy for space startups, enabling 100% automatic investments in space component manufacturers, and 49% in rockets and space launch service providers.

Critics of the policy have said FDI may not be an immediate answer to bolstering capital availability for the space sector. Instead, consultants and advisers have underlined the need for the government to become a customer to private startups.

“The public sector entity, NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), is accepting commercial global contracts, and offering such projects as business opportunities to private startups," Goenka told Mint.

“This will eventually build the startups’ ability to execute sensitive space projects, and also build global confidence in private space startups. Until then, NSIL will handhold the sector since reaching maturity in the space sector is a long-drawn affair."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shouvik Das
Shouvik Das is a science, space and technology reporter for Mint and TechCircle. In his previous stints, he worked at publications such as CNN-News18 and Outlook Business. He has also reported on consumer technology and the automobile sector.
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Published: 05 Mar 2024, 09:04 PM IST
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