In an effort to discuss enablers for nurturing technology development ecosystem as well as the building blocks for making a strong Defence Space Industrial Complex in the country, Indian Space Association (ISpA) organised the “India’s Defence Space Initiatives: Opportunities for ShapingIndian Private Space Ecosystem to lead Global Disruption” seminar atAero India 2023 being held at Bengaluru. At the seminar, ISpA released a Concept Paper on “Space Technology Parks To Energise Aatmanirbhar Bharat in Space Domain” on the sidelines of the Aero India 2023, focusing on the reforms and enablers needed to develop a framework for STPs and to support entrepreneurs in new space technology development. The concept paper aims towards strengthening “self-reliant” and “technologically advanced” initiatives of the government.
The event witnessed the presence of chief guest Dr. VK Saraswat, Member (S&T), NITI Aayog-GoI, Chancellor-Jawahar Lal Nehru University, and Former Chairman DRDO; Guest of Honor Giridhar Aramane IAS, Defence Secretary and Secretary Defence Production, MoD; Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria (Retd), Former Chief of the Air Staff; Jayant D Patil, Chairman, ISpA; Ravinder Singh, Partner, Kalaari Capital; and leaders from across the Indian Defence Forces and the Space industry. As an apex industry body for private space players in India, ISpA has made dedicated efforts towards policy advocacy to facilitate space domain operations such as for Space Parks incubated firms across the Indian space industry.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. VK Saraswat, Member (S&T), NITI Aayog, Chancellor-Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Former DRDO chief, said, “Mission DefSpace will not only strengthen the forces but also provide new and innovative solutions. The space mission will provide a boost to the space-based technology with multiple civilian and military applications. As reliance on space grows, space-based assets will become centres of gravity and are likely to be targeted in war and less than war situations.”
Meanwhile, Giridhar Aramane, Defence Secretary, stressed upon the need for dual use of space domain and highlighted how major space powers are making major investments to develop space forces. He called for greater collaboration between the academia, innovators and entrepreneurs and the need to engage with the defence services to understand the needs and develop solutions with Indian characteristics, to make India technologically self-reliant to provide the much-needed strategic sovereignty.
As India’s position in the global space market grows, the Space Technology Parks policy advocates strategies and actions that the Indian space ecosystem needs to adopt for accelerating its growth. The development of Space Technology Parks would help in delivering fruitful solutions to overcome the underlying challenges in the space industry.
The significance of Space Technology Parks is essential as it has the potential to drive economic growth, bring significant socio-economic impact, create new jobs, and foster innovation in the space industry. Additionally, it will help in establishing a strong presence for India and other countries in the global space community and create new opportunities for collaboration and investment alongside leveraging the entrepreneurship and research ecosystem.
As per Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt (Retd.), Director General, ISpA, “We are pleased to present the Concept paper on Space Technology Parks (STPs). We believe that with new innovations and technologies emerging at a rapid pace, the need for a dedicated Space Technology Park is apparent. The development of STP is a critical step in the advancement of the country’s space industry and will have far-reaching impacts on the economy, infrastructure, and quality of life in the years to come. By drawing parallels from the experiences of IT parks and industrial corridors, we can look forward to a future of continued growth, innovation, and prosperity in the space sector.”
The concept paper outlines a comprehensive plan for the development of Space Technology Parks in India. Below are the key recommendations:
- Incubation Centre(s): Focus on Incubation and innovation centres will help in creating an environment and tools for improving the focus areas and objectives aligned with the technological and strategic needs of India along with acting as the catalyst for overall improvement of the quality of technical education as well as innovation ideation.
- Ground Infrastructure and Facilities: As the Space Technology Parks would be ground infrastructure-heavy, this would require creation of building capabilities from the scratch and would need major investments. Availability of logistic hubs, transportation and facilitation of Space Parks are some of the initial developments required.
- Testing Facilities & Services: Some of the specialist requirements which need to be considered for Space Technology Parks would be Test Services including wind tunnel facility, central instrument facility, computation cluster & data centres with advanced facilities.
- Single Window Mechanism: It is recommended to include a single-window mechanism for the entire space ecosystem to have transparency throughout an entire development process. This facilitate awareness and actionable Information on various aspects
- Space Technology Park Authority: The creation of an Space Technology Parks Authority is a step towards achieving this goal. This authority will serveas a single window to Space Technology Park for all the stakeholders involved in the space industry, providing a streamlined and efficient approach to handling the various needs and requirements of the industry.
- Regulatory Sandbox: Developing Regulatory Sandbox would help in addressing the challenges and risks related to the deployment of solutions.
- Technology Standards: The technology developed by Space Technology Parks’ Incubation Centres needs to adhere to a common benchmark and standardisation process to address the specific needs of the space industry like, quality assessment plan, material acceptance procedures/support, inspection support and access for quality control portal.
- Geographic – Site Planning: The preparation of industrial park zoning maps takes into account a number of important site factors, including the physical characteristics of the site, the shape of the boundary (perimeter), environmental factors, microclimate conditions, compatibility issues, the surrounding areas, the availability of the area, accessibility, transportation issues, and visibility to look into for a proper site planning.
- Outreach and Tourism: Space Parks, comprising Space Museums, could be an effort to share Indian Space Program accomplishments, hopes, and concerns with the general public by utilising interactive multimedia presentations, augmented & mixed reality, interactive BHUVAN, live panels, static displays of GSLV/PSLV models, flight suit display, the 3D theatre, and these other technologies.
- Legal and Intellectual Property Rights Support: To encourage the private sector’s involvement in space operations given the significant investments involved, a legal framework that ensures a fair and competitive environment is required.
- Centre(s) of Excellence (Central Knowledge Hub): Collaborating with universities for promoting the region as a knowledge hub in the Space domain, promote innovative products and services, aid talent pool creation, generate more jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities and yield export revenues.
- Inputs for making a Comprehensive Space Technology Park Incentivisation Policy: Designing a Comprehensive Space Technology Park Incentivisation Policy would help in focusing on aspects like f Land Lease Subsidy and allocation; Human Resources and Labour; and Financial Incentives as well.
- Adoption of National Geospatial Policy 2022: The Space Park can have a hub for geospatial services centred around Hyderabad, keeping the availability of both SoI as well as NRSC Data Centre as well as the vibrant services industry.
- International Cooperation and Harmonisation: International cooperation will open doors for various nations and businesses to enter and expand global markets as well as successfully create space goods, capabilities, and services.
- Open-Source Science Commitment: India should also focus on Citizen Science Projects and Open-Source Policy for Space Sector as already done by NASA and European Space Agency (ESA).