The government has unveiled the Indian Space Policy, 2023. The new policy allows private low-earth orbit (LEO) and middle-earth orbit (MEO) satellite constellation operators to launch high-speed broadband services from space. 

Further, in a notification, the government has stated that the new policy allows non-governmental entities (NGEs) or private satellite operators to offer national as well as international space-based communication services through owned, procured or leased geostationary orbit (GSO) or non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite systems. 

Moreover, private satellite players are allowed to establish and operate satellite earth stations and satellite control centres in India. They are also allowed to use Indian/non-Indian orbital resources to establish space objects for communication services over India and outside India. 

The policy specifies that the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will be the interface between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and non-governmental entities. As per the policy, ISRO will not do any operational and production work for the space sector and focus its energies on developing new technologies, new systems and research and development. The operational part of ISRO’s missions will be moved to NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) and all strategic activities related to the space sector will be carried out by NSIL, which will work in a demand-driven mode. It also spells out the framework for the private sector to use ISRO facilities for a small charge and encourages them to invest in creating new infrastructure for the sector.

Commenting on the launch of the new policy, Lt. Gen. A.K. Bhatt (Retd.), Director General, Indian Space Association, said “We are delighted and happy with the release of the Indian Space Policy 2023 today. The policy is forward-looking and will help to fulfill our hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision for the growth of the Space industry in India. This policy provides the much-needed clarity on all space activities especially regarding space communication and other Applications. The policy will help to create opportunities for private sector to engage in all aspects of the space industry, from setting up and operating space objects and ground-based assets, to offering related services like communication, remote sensing, and navigation, thereby enabling them to provide end-to-end solutions in the space sector. The policy will be a catalyst for development of a robust innovative and globally competitive space ecosystem in India. It also clearly defines the role of IN-SPACe, as a single-window agency for the authorization of Space activities by government entities as well as NGEs. With this policy clarity, we are confident that IN-SPACe and DoT will work speedily to ensure necessary clearances for private players in India. We are also hopeful that the new FDI policy on space will be promulgated soon.”