New space agency IN-SPACe will hand-hold private players, act as regulator

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BENGALURU: A day after MoS for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh announced the cabinet’s decision to set up a handholding agency for private space industries — Indian National Space, Promotion & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) — Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan said IN-SPACe’s decisions will be binding on the space body.

Sivan was addressing a video conference on Thursday, where he called IN-SPACe a mechanism to allow private players to carry out space activities, while ensuring ease of doing space business at a low cost. This separate vertical under the Department of Space (DoS) will take independent decisions with respect to permitting activities of private companies in the space sector, he said. To take these independent decisions, IN-SPACe will have independent directorates for technical, legal, safety & security, activities promotion and monitoring purposes. It will also have representation from industry, academia and the government. Private companies can directly apply to IN-SPACe and it will independently evaluate the application.

“Once IN-SPACe gives its decision, it will be binding on all stakeholders,” Sivan added. In the interim period of 3-6 months that IN-SPACe becomes operational, private players can directly apply to DoS. We are processing the request, he said. The department is now looking at reforms in its SATCOM and remote sensing policies to make it suitable for IN-SPACe. The role of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) will also be recalibrated.

“NSIL will be empowered to take over operational launch vehicles, satellite and commercial operation activities,” Sivan said. To discuss the reforms and strategies, ISRO is planning an Industry Promotion Meet (webinar) for stakeholders by July 9.

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