India will now allow private companies to establish and operate rocket launch sites within and outside the country, with prior approval from the Centre. Similarly, any rocket launch (orbital or sub-orbital) from Indian or overseas territory can be carried out only with authorisation from Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), an independent body constituted by the Government of India, under the Department of Space (DOS).
The move is a part of the National Space Transformation Policy by the Department of Space (DoS) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It would provide opportunities to Indian entities to capture a significant share of the global launch services market. It would also help the government agencies accelerate the research and development to build space transportation technologies for further endeavours, including commercial exploitation.
Private Players Can Lease Out Launch Pads
Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation and the Secretary of DoS K Sivan told The Times of India, "Apart from building and launching launch vehicles, private players can have their launch sites where they build launch pads. Or, they can build these launch pads on our launch sites so that they have more options. They can also lease out launch pads". The DoS will be sharing several technologies for space transportation to promote a sustainable environment for the companies venturing into space technology. The policy states that the authorisation process shall not pose any constraint to the timely implementation of the approved space programs for societal development.
The National Space Transportation Policy Draft mentioned that the launch could be from own or leased site and mobile platforms (land, sea and air). In case of launching outside the national premises, all necessary approvals for undertaking such activities in other nations shall be under applicable laws from the respective country. The draft categorically mentions that IN-SPACe or the Union of India shall not have any liability relating to the rocket launches taking places in other country's territory.
Last year, the Centre opened India's space programme to private players. The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved private sector participation in the entire range of space activities.