Awaiting Liftoff Into The Second Space Age
India’s modest entry into the First Space Age, followed by several gains, should be utilized to assist the country in realizing its enormous potential in the Second Space Age.
Points to Ponder:
- The Space Age began in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1, and we are now in the Second Space Age, with private companies playing the majority of the roles.
- The precise date of the second space age is unknown. However, it is largely agreed that it began between the 1950s and 1991, during the cold war between Russia and America.
India’s space journey:
- The creation of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962 marked the start of India’s space program.
- INCOSPAR was renamed the Indian Space Research Organization in 1972. (ISRO).
- Aryabhata, India’s first satellite, was launched in 1975.
- The creation of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR)With the launch of the Satellite for Television Experiment (SITE) in 1983, India became the seventh country to have a satellite in geostationary orbit.
- India successfully launched its first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, in 2008, which uncovered indications of water on the moon.
- In 2013, India launched its first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), which successfully entered Mars orbit in 2014.
- ISRO broke the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014 by launching 104 satellites in a single mission in 2017.
- ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 project tried to land a rover on the moon in 2019, but the mission failed after the rover crashed during the landing attempt.
- The GSAT-7A, India’s first dedicated military satellite, will enable secure communication with the Indian armed services in 2021.
- India’s space program is expanding, with ambitions for trips to Venus, the sun, and beyond.
- Increased investment in space exploration and research could result in major economic growth and technical advancement in India.
- With a trained workforce and a track record of successful missions, India has the potential to become a major player in the global space business.
- ISRO, India’s space agency, has already made substantial contributions to space exploration, including a record-breaking launch of 104 satellites on a single rocket in 2017.
- India has also participated in international space cooperation and partnerships with countries such as the United States, Russia, and France.
- Instead of relying on imports, India’s focus on creating its space technology and capabilities could lead to increased self-sufficiency and strategic independence.
- With projects such as satellite-based telemedicine and e-governance services for rural areas, India has also proved its commitment to utilising space technology for social and economic development.
- Continued investment in space science and exploration may offer environmental benefits as well, such as monitoring climate change and natural disasters.
Creating an Enabling Environment:
- Policy support: The government should offer policy support for space-related enterprises and research, including financing and incentives.
- Education and training: A priority should be placed on teaching and training the workforce in the domains of space science, engineering, and technology.
- Investment in research and development is critical for advancing the state-of-the-art in space technology and exploration.
- Collaboration and partnerships: Partnerships among government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector can stimulate innovation and offer resources for space-related endeavors.
- Infrastructure: A solid infrastructure, including launch sites, tracking and control stations, and communication networks, is required to support space activities.
- Regulatory framework: To assure safety, security, and conformity with international rules and regulations, a well-defined regulatory framework is required.
- The Indian private sector is responding to the Second Space Age’s expectations. Their revenue is dependent on space-related operations, and they require a unique partnership with ISRO and the government. ISRO is now an operator, user, service provider, licensor, rule maker, and incubator. It has led India through the First Space Age and now needs to focus on what it does best with its resources and high-quality workforce — research.