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Home ? News ? India ? Exclusive | After Bengaluru, Hyderabad, UP Next for Space Startup Ecosystem Growth: ISpA Chief to News18
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Exclusive | After Bengaluru, Hyderabad, UP Next for Space Startup Ecosystem Growth: ISpA Chief to News18

By: Bhaswati Guha Majumder

Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta

News18.com

Last Updated: January 25, 2023, 09:43 IST

New Delhi, India

Lt Gen Bhatt said that at the moment it is the United States, which is leading the industry, followed by Russia, as well as China, which had the maximum rocket launches in 2022, and the European Space Agency, which includes all the European countries, and then comes India. (Representational image/PTI Photo)

Lt Gen Bhatt said that at the moment it is the United States, which is leading the industry, followed by Russia, as well as China, which had the maximum rocket launches in 2022, and the European Space Agency, which includes all the European countries, and then comes India. (Representational image/PTI Photo)

Lt Gen AK Bhatt (Retd)?, director general of the Indian Space Association, suggested financial support and PLI for the space sector and said India has the capability to match the level reached by other countries like the US and China

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At present all space startups are mostly from cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai, but opportunities for ecosystem development are there in Uttar Pradesh also,?Lt Gen AK Bhatt (Retd), director general of the Indian Space Association (ISpA), told News18?in an exclusive conversation.

He said that space startups need to grow in other parts of the country, including in northern India, somewhere close to the?IITs, and at those places where support systems are available for a better ecosystem.

Lt Gen AK Bhatt (Retd), director general of the Indian Space Association (ISpA)

“Opportunities are seen specifically in UP, where the government has introduced the Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor and they are also keen to have space startups in the state while providing the needed support," added?Lt Gen Bhatt.

He also?spoke?about?Kerala, where?Thiruvananthapuram has been chosen as the location for the Space Park, and said that the more such initiatives take place in the country, the more?this will help the ecosystem development.

PLI and financial support

Lt Gen Bhatt highlighted the fact that India needs production-linked?incentive (PLI) schemes for the space industry to boost development in this sector. According to him,?since the space sector is a growing industry in India, it needs to be supported by the government.

He stated that?a PLI scheme will encourage R&D in India and provide incentives to entities involved in the space sector.

The ISpA?head also noted the importance of financial support for the space industry. He said that?presently the startups are getting money from venture capitalists who invested in series A funding. But for these space startups to scale up, they would also need higher funding in further rounds.

“So when it comes to finances, support from both major players of the industry and the government, as well as banks incentivising loans at low-interest rates, all of these will be needed," he added.

The ISpA official had suggested?GST exemption for private satellite launch service providers and exemption from Angel Tax for the growth of the space industry which has a promising future.

India on space map

Lt Gen Bhatt also talked about the present and the possible future of India’s space industry.

He told News18 that at the moment it is the?United States, which is leading the industry, followed by Russia, as well as China, which had the maximum rocket launches in 2022, and the European Space Agency, which includes all the European countries, and then comes India.

“This is how the order is at this moment. There are other countries that are getting into the space sector now — there are 11 such countries. But India stands in the first five with the legacy of 60 years that has been created by ISRO," he noted.

However, when it comes to the space business, the most successful company at this moment is Elon Musk’s SpaceX,?which has been helping to build a strong American commercial space industry while collaborating with NASA.

When asked whether there is a possibility to see an Indian startup becoming the next SpaceX,?Lt Gen Bhatt took a few names?that are already on their way to impact the Indian space sector.

He highlighted the recent achievement by Hyderabad’s Skyroot, which launched the suborbital rocket Vikram-S on November 18, 2022, and became the first Indian private company to reach outer space. He also spoke about companies that are making their private satellites, as well as Bengaluru’s?Pixxel, which is building a hyperspectral constellation?to beam down 10 times more information than other conventional satellites in orbit at present.

“There are great opportunities in terms of launch vehicles, manufacturer of satellites, and in downstream products. But this will take time to grow because things in space do not happen in a short time," he added.

The ISpA?chief said that even though presently the number of startups in India’s space sector is less, it will grow because the country has strength in information technology.

“One of the reasons why the government opened the space sector for private players is because it concentrates on those things?that are already developed, such as satellite communication, and downstream products, while R&D is done by ISRO," he said.

Lt Gen Bhatt?believes that India has the capability to match the level?reached by other countries through missions like Sukrayan and even sending astronauts to space.

“Yes, the US has a?good?lead in this and there is also China, but we are not far behind as we have the much-needed ability and the potential," he noted.

Read all the Latest India News here

first published:January 25, 2023, 08:00 IST
last updated:January 25, 2023, 09:43 IST
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