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DoS releases ‘Draft National Space Transportation Policy – 2020’

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India-to-allow-private-players-to-build-and-operate-rocket-launch-sites (1)The Department of Space (DoS) has placed the ‘Draft National Space Transportation Policy  2020 – Norms, Guidelines & Procedures (NGP)’ for implementation in public domain for comments & suggestions.

  • The Draft National Space Transportation Policy-2020 covers all aspects of rocket launching, launchpads, reentry of a space object and others.
  • It aims to unlock the potential of the space sector in the country with respect to space transportation systems by creating a healthy ecosystem for private companies to develop launch vehicles and launch them from Indian Territory.
  • Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), an independent body constituted by Government of India, under the DoS has been specified as the nodal agency for all approvals related to launches by the Indian private sector.

Boost for Private Sector

i.The draft policy allows Indian private companies to establish and operate rocket launch sites within and outside the country, after getting prior authorisation from the government.

ii.Rocket launch (orbital or sub-orbital) from Indian or overseas territory can be carried out only with authorisation from IN-SPACe.

  • The launch could be from own or leased launch site and also from mobile platforms (land, sea or air).

iii.As per the policy, IN-SPACe authorisation requires financial guarantee or insurance cover by proposer under its ownership to fulfil nation’s liability as per international agreements.

Launches Outside India

i.If  the launch site is overseas, all necessary approvals for undertaking the activities in another country must be under the applicable laws of that country.

ii.IN-SPACe will authorise the launch activity by the Indian Entity after verifying clearances accorded by Ministry of External Affairs or any other Ministry.

iii.IN-SPACe or the Union of India shall not have any liability related to launches performed outside of the territory of India.

Green Push to ISRO

The draft policy states that ISRO should focus on Research and Development (R&D), green fuels, robotic space exploration and reusable rockets.

i.It states that focused research on new propulsion systems based on semi-cryogenic, liquid oxygen-methane and green propellants is essential.

ii.ISRO is developing green propulsion through hydrogen peroxide for the rocket that will power the ‘Gaganyaan’ mission (India’s 1st Human Space Flight Programme).

  • It is also developing rocket engines powered by hydrogen peroxide as a mono-propellant or as a bi-propellant along with ethanol.
  • ISRO is developing a green fuel – LOX (Liquid Oxygen)/Methane – LOX as oxidiser and methane as fuel.
  • ISRO has also developed ISROSENE, a rocket-grade version of kerosene as an alternative to conventional hydrazine rocket fuel.
  • Lightweight electrical propulsion is also being developed by ISRO for powering the satellites, to replace the chemical fuel.

Agnikul Cosmos and Skyroot Aerospace are small rocket makers who are developing small rockets to launch small satellites into orbit.

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January 8, 2021, Sivan, Secretary of Department of Space (DoS) & Chairman of SRO has chalked out the plan for the Decade 2021-30. It has listed both Short-term vision & Long-term visions.

About Department of Space (DoS)

The Portfolio of DoS is held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
Secretary –  K Sivan
Secretariat – Bengaluru, Karnataka