Space – A New Frontier for Industry

21 Sep 2022

Since forever the human psyche has been fascinated by the cosmos. The scientific advancements of the 20th century enabled us to venture into space and understand its genesis and evolution. As latest technologies keep entering the sector, the desire for new discoveries continues to create new opportunities in the outer space. 

Global Space Industry

Global Space economy is valued at USD 370 Billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 642 billion by 2030 with CAGR of 6.3%, as per the findings by renowned consulting firm EuroConsult. This growth is enabled by growing demand for space-based services, lowering of costs, miniaturization and access to technology, liberal funding and enabling regulations around the world.

The revenue consists of the space market (USD 337 Bn in 2021) which includes commercial space revenues and government procurement for their space activities contracted to the private sector and other spending from government organizations (USD 33 Bn) to conduct their space activities (internal costs and R&D).

Let us look at the top trends accelerating growth in the space sector :

Emerging nations in space – The last decade saw the emergence of several new governmental space agencies from countries such as Turkey, Australia, and the Philippines, thus expanding the ecosystem.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and international cooperation – Collaborative and partnership approaches have proven to be one of the most successful ways to achieve common goals in the space industry, and this trend is continuing as more and more private sector enterprises are entering the space sector.
Emerging technologies and services – NewSpace-tech like advanced space manufacturing, optical & quantum communication, reusable rockets, space data, small and affordable satellites, etc., is transforming global space industry.
Military interests in space – Recent global events have triggered nations to focus on acquisition of space assets for the military, from a national security perspective. Today’s armed forces rely on space-based assets for reconnaissance, weather tracking, communication, navigation and more.
Encouraging start-ups and SMEs to enter and thrive in the space sector – Nations are enabling and encouraging start-ups and SMEs to enter the space sector to enhance the diffusion of space technology and boost space economy.  In India, many Non-Government-Private-Entities (NGPEs) have started engaging in space activities for commercial gains. Many start-ups and industries have started making launch vehicles and satellites and are eager to provide space-based services (Source).

Nurturing the NewSpace in India

As per SpaceTech Analytics 2021, India is the sixth-largest player in the space industry, having 3.6% of the world’s space-tech companies. The sector in India consists of key government entities & various private players including established firms as well as start-ups. The key governmental entities in India which are critical to the sector include ISRO, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) and Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe).

Over the last five decades, ISRO has been successful in the development of indigenous end-to-end capability in space technology and space activities. This has also led to the growth in Indian industries, with more than 500 MSMEs, PSUs and large private industries contributing significantly to the Indian space programme. The involvement of industries in space activities has created jobs for around 45,000 people in the country. Many sectors like defence production, telecom, materials, chemicals and precision engineering have benefitted from this exercise.

In recent years, it has been seen that ISRO is ramping up its efforts to create a sustainable space ecosystem, and at the same time encourage collaboration and partnerships with the private sector industries and start-ups. Moreover, efforts have been put in towards revising the space policies including the FDI policy by the Government for the space sector to spur the growth of private sectors, increase industry’s share in the Indian Space and global space market.

Further, India as of now has launched the 114 Spacecraft Missions including 3 nano satellites, 1 micro satellite, 83 launch missions including Scramjet-TD, RLV-TD and Crew Escape System;13 Student Satellites; 2 Re-entry Missions and 342 Foreign Satellites of 34 countries.

There are ~500 private companies operating in the space technology sector in India. The Indian Space-tech start-up ecosystem is also booming, with over 100 active Indian space-tech start-ups.

It is safe to say that the space industry has become a highly valuable ecosystem for the world, but activities within it still come with a high level of risks and challenges. No matter the challenges, the space sector continues to attract both public & private sector interests, with an increase in space related activities and initiatives, in both scale and frequency, across the world. The current trajectory proves that the future of the space sector has the potential to change the course of human civilization.

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