India has embarked on becoming the fourth nation to conduct human spaceflight missions after the US, Russia, and China. It is on course to launch Gaganyaan, its first human-crewed spaceflight, in December 2021.
The Gaganyaan mission aims to send Indian astronauts into space by 2022, with three flights into an orbit. The program is firm to put India on the space tech map, offering multiple opportunities for Indian startups and private players. Notably, ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organization (1), is enthusiastic to partner startups for innovative solutions.
As per the media reports in May, ISRO has invited Indian startups and private players to develop several R&D solutions for the Gaganyaan mission. It includes food and medicine for astronauts, anti-radiation and thermal protection technologies, support systems, and more for spacecraft while making a journey back home planet.
Dr. Unnikrishnan Nair S, the Director of Human Space Flight Centre, while speaking on Ushering the New Era for Indian Space Sector at the International Space Conference, stated that ISRO is looking for national and international collaborations.
ISRO is Inviting the Private Sector For New Innovations in the Spacetech space and Ensure the Success of Gaganyaan
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced during the public-private partnership in May 2020, including private sectors, to get the potential space technology for the space segment. The new reforms are in line with the call of ISRO.
During the online conference, Dr. VR Lalithambika, the Director of HSP, Human Spaceflight Program, stated that ISRO had crossed paths with several potential academia and industry talents during multiple discussions about the Gaganyaan project. She added that it is an opportunity for private players in the space tech sectors to take new challenges and develop solutions.
She invited private players to come up with solutions for advanced propulsion techniques. The director stated a requirement for advanced propulsion techniques because the conventional technology of ISRO would not be ideal for the human flight.
The space agency further stated that the Gaganyaan program would open new opportunities for R&D in the science and technology space. It added that the private sector could play a significant role rather than being a supplier of parts and components.
The Department of Space is also set to promote private-sector space activities. The move enables them to offer end-to-end space services. It includes building and launching rockets, satellites, and offering space-based services commercially.