Microsoft Azure Space
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Just months after India opened up the space sector for private players, the country has seen 22 proposals from Indian firms and institutions, as well as 4 foreign companies, which are formally being reviewed by IN-SPACe, according to a report by TOI. US-based giant Amazon Web Services and Bharti group backed by OneWeb are some of the well-known firms who have expressed interest.

Earlier this year, the Financial Minster Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the entry of the private sector into the Indian space race. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had released a new draft of the Spacecom policy 2020. This policy intends to allow private companies to not only use orbital slots, satellites and ground stations that are already in orbit for communication, but also to launch their own satellites or provide service to other nations.

Participation of private parties in space-based communication would also need a regulatory body to supervise them. The Spacecom policy had stated that  an autonomous body under the DoS would have to be sanctioned to supervise all Satcom activities. Thus, after the policy was passed, a new regulatory body by the name of IN-SPACe was formed.

The policy opens many opportunities for Indian space startups to grow in the private space industry.

Multiple Indian startups have expressed interest in the new development. Some of them are Astrome Technologies, Pixxel, Dhruva Space from Bengaluru, Agnikul Cosmos from Chennai and Skyroot Aerospace from Hyderabad. These companies have sought permissions for space-based applications, satellite making, launching and development and launch of launch vehicles.

Some ambitious foreign companies are also pitching in. OneWeb’s request is to establish a small satellite constellation and provide services, while UAE’s Archeron Group wants assistance for small satellites’ launch and Norway’s Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) wants to set up ground stations.

AWS has also sought permission to establish ground stations for enabling private space business. The company would also like to offer satellite based services.

“The fact that so many Indian firms, both big companies like L&T and Bharti Group and startups are progressing well is encouraging and in line with our PM’s vision. Interest from foreign firms like Amazon will also help India become a global space hub” said K Sivan, secretary, Department of Space (DoS).

IN-SPACe, through its interim committee headed by R Umamaheshwaran, scientific secretary, DoS, has already held preliminary technical discussions with AWS, Archeron and KSAT.