Space dept lists responsibilities and roles of IN-SPACE
A month after announcing the formation of a nodal agency Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) for commercialisation of space activities in the country, the department of space has detailed its structure, roles and responsibilities. The single-window agency will permit and oversee activities by private sector right from building launch vehicles and satellites to launching it. The agency will also monitor the usage of the data generated by the private spacecrafts and rolling out of any space-based services, according to the document.
So far, the industry participation in space activities was limited mainly to building parts for the ISRO missions. However, these included 500 medium and small-scale enterprises, public sector undertaking and private industries. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), this has created jobs for around 45,000 people in the country and has matured the Indian industry in manufacturing motor cases, engines, satellite production and rocket motor building to the level of exporting indigenous technologies.
“IN-SPACe will be another vertical under the department that will enable private players to carry out space activities. To do so, definitely some systems, like appropriate policies, are required. The Space Activities Bill should comprise this. We are already working on it — we are trying to modify some existing policies to suit the entry of private players. Some of the activities can be started without the Bill. By then, the Bill will also come in and the picture will come together. But for space launched by the private sector, yes, the Bill would be required,” ISRO chairman and secretary of department of space Dr K Sivan had said during the announcement last month.
Other sectors such as defence production, telecom, materials, chemicals, and precision engineering have also benefitted from these collaborations.
For a complete end-to-end mission – developing the spacecraft, launch vehicle and launching a mission – is infrastructure needed to carry out extensive research and development, integration and testing, and launch port (India has only one space-port in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh). These facilities are capital intensive and take time to establish. IN-SPACe will create a mechanism for sharing the already existing infrastructure in ISRO with the private players. It will also enable the private sector to create temporary infrastructure within Department of Space establishments.
The technology, expertise and facilities will be offered to private players either free or at reasonable cost, according to the document.
IN-SPACe will also be the nodal agency for approval of any other space-related infrastructure to be built.
The newly created agency will have a chairman, technical experts for space activities, safety considerations, legal and strategic experts, and member of the industry and academia. The body will also have members from the prime minister’s officer and from the ministry of external affairs.
The decision of IN-SPACe shall be final and binding on all stakeholders, including ISRO.
The body will also have a monitoring directorate that will have oversight over space activities till the completion of the missions as per IN-SPACe decisions. It shall report back to the agency for corrective actions needed. Any disputes will be resolved by IN-SPACe and department of space.
As per the document released by the department of space, the unresolved disputes will be resolved by an appellate body. “As an interim measure, utilization of TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) is suggested.”
The private sector participation will not be limited to established technologies and ISRO will open up new technology challenges to the industry. The shortlisted proposals will be promoted for part funding by the government.