The term ‘space economy’ covers the goods and services produced in space for use in space. India is one of the very few countries that have built end-to-end capability in Space. As a result, there is a huge demand for Space-based services which have huge commercial potential. Read here to learn more about the Space economy.
Recently, G20 Space Economy Leaders Meeting was organized under India’s G20 presidency by the Department of Space, Government of India.
India is an emerging space economy.
The Government has decided to open up the space sector for the Indian private industry through the 2020 Space Sector reforms to enhance their participation in end-to-end space activities with hand holding of ISRO.
According to the latest reports, the space economy is worth at least $469 billion. The term ‘space economy’ covers the goods and services produced in space for use in space.
- mining the moon or asteroids for material is an example of such activity.
- The OECD defines it as any activity that involves “exploring, researching, understanding, managing, and utilizing space”.
There are currently 90 countries active in space, although there were only two superpowers when the space race first started.
Numerous private corporations are currently funding space initiatives to improve anything from science to potentially profitable economic prospects.
The space industry is proving to be a crucial facilitator of development and efficiency in other industries as well as a sector in itself.
- The deployment of new space infrastructure has benefited several sectors, including meteorology, energy, telecommunications, insurance, transport, marine, aviation, and urban development.
There was a 19% jump in overall government spending on military and civilian space programs last year.
- India raised spending by 36%, China invested 23% more and the US pumped another 18% into space ventures.
What is being termed the space renaissance- technological innovation is reducing costs and creating new capabilities all around the globe.
- Rocket prices have reduced fourfold in the past decade.
- The availability of cheaper components helps companies put satellites into space at lower investment costs.
- More earth imagery by area is being produced, along with increased bandwidth of communications.
- Commercial satellite data is giving the globe a bird’s-eye perspective of the situation in Ukraine, enabling anyone anywhere to see and document events there as they happen.
- Additionally, corporations may use satellite imaging to measure their environmental, social, and governance performance, governments can use it to track CO2 emissions, and farmers can use it to monitor their crops.
The increasing activity in space is also raising concerns about the amount of space debris in Earth’s orbit, which NASA says now totals 9,000 tonnes.
Also read: Artemis Accords
Space economy of India
India aims to make private industries a co-traveler in India’s Space journey by allowing them to undertake independent end-to-end space activities.
The increased private industry participation will eventually result in the increased contribution of India to the global space economy.
A nodal entity called Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Center (IN-SPACe) has been created towards promoting and authorizing private industries’ participation.
- The creation of IN-SPACe has received overwhelming responses from the Indian space industry.
- The first privately built sounding rocket was launched last November and a space start-up has established a launch pad inside ISRO’s launch complex. A few start-ups have built and launched satellites.
To give a further boost to private investments, the Union Cabinet approved India’s space policy which envisages and encourages private participation in all areas of space activities.
Indian Space Association (ISpA) was formed in 2021 as a premier industry association of space and satellite companies. It is a part of the government’s approach to space reforms based on:
- Allowing the private sector freedom of innovation.
- The government plays the enabler’s role.
- Preparing youngsters for the future.
- Treating the space sector as a resource for the progress of the common man.
ISpA is an apex, non-profit industry body exclusively working towards the successful exploration, collaboration, and development of the private and public Space Industry in India.
- Its vision is to work with all stakeholders, to create an enabling environment for strengthening the private industry in the Indian Space sector.
- ISpA envisions propelling India to the global forefront in the entire Space ecosystem echoing ‘Atma nirbhar Bharat.
Sustainable space economy
In the world of growing digitalization, space technologies will play a role in furthering social well-being and sustainable growth in the post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery.
Space technologies can contribute to bridging the digital divide, monitoring changing climate, extreme weather, and the use of natural resources, and creating new economic opportunities.
But the unprecedented growth of space infrastructure comes with its share of issues like space debris. With a growing societal reliance on space-based infrastructure and systems, debris-related incidents and collisions could have significant negative consequences globally.
Several G20 economies have made great progress in the economic measurement of their space activities.
- They have identified the activities contributing to enhancing awareness of the contributions of the space economy to the economy and the accountability of public spending in this area.
- These activities contribute to a better understanding and evaluation of the impacts of government investments and will prove useful for underpinning future government investments and policy decisions.
The advent of space tourism is also a leap in the direction of enhancing the economic prospects of space, but it also needs to be carried out with proper regulations, especially in terms of sustainability.
As space budgets have grown and diversified in many countries, decision-makers need to better track the implementation and impacts of government investments in the space sector.
In the post-COVID-19 recovery efforts, economic growth and societal well-being are key objectives of most government space strategies, and this needs to be better reflected in data and indicators.
More and more governments are investing in the space sector and the growing contributions to innovation and entrepreneurship will propel the space economy forward.
Space observations play a crucial role in the study and monitoring of the climate. Space infrastructure furthermore contributes to monitoring the emission of greenhouse gases.
COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of digital connectivity for both economic development and social well-being. Despite considerable progress in the last decade, hundreds of millions of people in both high and lower-income countries still have no access to a fast and reliable fixed Internet connection.
Satellite-based broadband is one of the technologies that could bring connectivity to areas where other terrestrial alternatives are not available or too expensive to deploy, and new services are underway.
Space technologies are increasingly used also for development assistance purposes. Space-related official development assistance (ODA) includes technical assistance in telemedicine, geographic information systems, etc
Space-related ODA projects support a range of different objectives, such as monitoring the environment and natural resources, improving food safety, supporting government services, or developing economic infrastructures.
The space sector has evolved and spread with astonishing speed in the last two decades, but challenges remain to realize the full benefits of public space investments. While some of these challenges can be addressed by space organizations themselves, more often they rely on close coordination and cooperation with other government services.
-Article written by Swathi Satish