Space Startups in India: The Next Big Thing For Indian Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurs in India are known to quickly grab every single opportunity with both hands and make the most of it. However, the latest opportunity is the biggest ever that could change the Indian startup landscape forever.

The government of India may soon make a few major changes in its Space Transportation Policy to open doors for Indian startups. The newly drafted National Space Transportation Policy allows private companies to establish their own launch sites and pads. But that’s not all!

Subject to approval from the ministry, the proposed policy allows private companies to plan their own space missions and launch their own vehicles related to the re-entry of objects. The move will put Indian on the front row – along with few other developed countries – in space technology as the aspiring entrepreneurs in India will be working closely with the Department of Space (DoS) and ISRO.

Space Startups in India: The Big Picture

  • DoS and ISRO have come up with a new draft policy that will open gates for Indian private players to enter the global space market.
  • Indian startups can have their own launch vehicles.
  • Indian startups are invited to establish their own launch pads.
  • Startups that have adequate knowledge and willing to foray into it can build their launch pads at DoS owned launch sites to have more options and get an opportunity to work closely with the government-owned body.
  • The options for startups to lease out their launch pads is also open now.
  • The new draft policy also proposes to ease out access to space technologies and facilities developed by ISRO for startups.
  • The access to critical materials, components, systems etc that are critical for any startups to develop space launch vehicle will also be shared.
  • It also establishes a single-window clearance system for startups to have approval on their systems and technologies related to space missions. IN-SPACE, a nodal agency, is established for all such authorisations.
  • The appointment of the Chairman and board of IN-SPACE is still in process.
  • The global satellite launch service market was estimated $12.67 billion in 2019.
  • The global satellite launch service market is expected to grow to $26.16 billion, clocking 13.35% CAGR between 2020 and 2027.

Food For Thought

The newly drafted policy seems quite promising and provides a big window of opportunity for Indian startups. Many developed countries already have similar policies to welcome private players. This will also help India to strengthen its position and say in the global satellite launch market, currently dominated by the US, China and Russia that have 1,897, 412 and 176 satellites, respectively.

Some of the leading and aggressive Indian entrepreneurs would like to have an early movers advantage in the space launch service market, but it requires a huge investment and uninterrupted injection of funds for a long time. This leads us to a big question:

Is the Indian investment community ready to make risky bets or still wants to continue to play safe up until now?

The number of unicorn startups in India vs the United States answers this question to a great extent.


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