Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with industries, startups, and academia from the space sector via video conference, in New Delhi, on December 14.(PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with industries, startups, and academia from the space sector via video conference, in New Delhi, on December 14.(PTI)

PM meets space industry leaders; Spaceport in Tuticorin, fund for startups on agenda

Prime Minister Modi met representatives of eight space agencies to improve participation and seek suggestions for the newly created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre
By Anonna Dutt | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 15, 2020 11:33 AM IST

Since the announcement of opening up the space sector to private players in June, the department of space has received 25 applications from industries seeking permission or support for space activities. These activities range from satellite constellation, small satellite launch vehicles, ground station, geospatial services, propulsion systems and application products, according to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met representatives of eight space agencies to improve participation and seek suggestions for the newly created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe), an independent body that will give authorisation, monitor, and also share government resources for space activities.

ISRO chairperson and department of space secretary K Sivan briefed the PM about steps taken so far. He said actions have been taken to address the requirements and applications are being processed in fast track mode.

“The event was mostly aimed at assessing what the space sector is currently doing and taking feedback about the recent changes in the space sector. The government is looking at implementation of the suggestions made today,” according to a person present at the meeting.

“Two of the main suggestions of the industry were to expedite the construction of the new launch pad at Tuticorin and setting up a space fund to help the startups in the sector,” the person said, on condition of anonymity.

One of the representatives also suggested setting up a space education centre on the lines of Unites States’ Kennedy Space Centre. “Setting up a good infrastructure like that will not only inspire students from all corners of the country to learn about space, it will also bring in space tourism. Currently, we take our students and those from all neighbouring countries to US. It costs about $500 just for the visit to Kennedy Space Centre, add to that the cost of flight, visa etc; it is very expensive. If a centre is set up in India, it will cost one-third and bring in tourism,” said Srimathy Kesan, founder and CEO of Space Kidz India. She was present at the meeting and one of the eight persons to present to the PM.

Others industry representatives were Sunil Bharti Mittal from Bharti Enterprises, Jayant Patil from Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Srinath Ravichandran from Agnikul Cosmos Pvt Ltd, Pawan Kumar Chandana from Skyroot Aerospace Ltd, Colonel H S Shankar from Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Rakesh Verma from MapmyIndia, and Awais Ahmed from PIXXEL India.

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