Q Why is the context ?
A The PM has launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA), an industry body consisting of various stakeholders of the Indian space domain.
Q What is Indian Space Association (ISpA) ?
- The ISpA is a premier industry association of space and satellite companies, which aspires to be the collective voice of the Indian space industry.
- It will be headed by retired Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, who will be its Director General.
- It will target to undertake policy advocacy and engage with all stakeholders in the Indian space domain. It will engage with the government and all its agencies.
Q Why is the formation of ISpA significant?
- Million-dollar industry: Governments across the world have poured millions of dollars to push the envelope in term of exploring the edges of the space.
- Collaborated research: With time, governments and government agencies collaborated to explore newer planets and galaxies in search of life forms that exist outside Earth.
- Private players involvement: In the recent past, private sector companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have taken the lead in spaceflight.
- Easing workload on ISRO: Though India too has made significant strides in space exploration over time, state-run ISRO has been at the centre and front of this progress.
Q What does ISpA aim to achieve?
- Supplementing space research: One of the main goals of the organisation is to supplement the government’s efforts towards making India a global leader in commercial space-based excursions.
- Commercial space exploration: ISpA said it would engage with stakeholders across the ecosystem for the formulation of an enabling policy framework which fulfills the government vision of leading commercial space exploration.
- Establishing global linkages: ISpA will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and investments into the country to create more high skill jobs.
Q Who are the stakeholders in this organisation and How will they contribute?
- ISpA will be represented by leading domestic and global corporations that have advanced capabilities in space and satellite technologies.
- It has taken off with several Indian and international companies betting on it as the next frontier to provide high-speed and affordable Internet connectivity to inaccessible areas as well.
- This includes SpaceX’s StarLink, Sunil Bharti Mittal’s OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, US satellite maker Hughes Communications, etc.
- OneWeb, for example, is building its initial constellation of 648 low-earth orbit satellites and has already put 322 satellites into orbit.
Q Why is satellite-based Internet important in India?
- The expansion of the Internet in India is crucial to the Modi government’s dream of a digital India where a majority of government services are delivered directly to the customer.
- The government aims to connect all villages and gram panchayats with high-speed Internet over the next 1000 days through BharatNet.
- However, internet connectivity in hilly areas and far-flung places of Northeast India are still a challenge.
- To overcome this, industry experts suggest that satellite Internet will be essential for broadband inclusion in remote areas and sparsely populated locations where terrestrial networks have not reached.
- Satellite communications remain limited to use by corporates and institutions that use it for emergency use, critical trans-continental communications and for connecting to remote areas with no connectivity.