Aero India: Space Tech Parks Needed to Boost Innovations in Space Sector

The Indian Space Association (ISpA) has put out a concept paper for developing space technology parks (STPs) in India as a way to get innovations from the “lab to space.” This is happening at the same time as the biennial air show Aero India, which is going on right now. The paper says that the space tech parks should be full facilities with modern accelerators that bring together the business world, universities, and investors.

“We think it’s clear that a space technology park is needed because new ideas and technologies are coming out all the time. The development of STP is an important step in the growth of the country’s space industry. It will also have long-term effects on the economy, infrastructure, and quality of life. “We can look forward to continued growth, innovation, and prosperity in the space sector if we learn from the experiences of IT parks and industrial corridors,” said Lt. Gen. A K Bhatt (Retd. ), Director General of the Indian Space Association.

The concept paper says that the goal of these parks would be to improve leadership in key research areas, allow the development of niche capabilities to become self-sufficient in the long run, promote innovative products, set up space knowledge hubs, and create a pool of talent and jobs for them. The paper says that this will make India more competitive on the international market, open the door to new industries, and put India in the lead in space.

In the concept paper, it says that these space tech parks would focus on making things like carbon and polymer composites, space-grade electronics, advanced sensors, and high-precision parts that are 3D-printed.

The parks should also focus on products like rocket parts, electronic and sensor systems, satellites and their subsystems, and technologies like hypersonic systems, new propulsion systems, and space quantum communications, among others.

In this paper, the two manufacturing hubs and space parks that are being built in Gujarat and Kerala are talked about. Together with IN-SPACe, the Gujarat government is building a space park for satellite manufacturing and applications. The park will have plug-and-play infrastructure, an outreach team, mentoring and skill development, legal and intellectual property support, and more. This will be next to the test facilities that are used the most.

An MoU was signed between the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and the government of Kerala for the space park in Kerala, which will have a knowledge centre and a space museum. The facility will be located near several existing Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) centres. It will have two sub-verticals: the Nano Space Park, which will focus on putting together hardware, and the Space Technology Application Development Ecosystem, which will focus on making the downstream market.

In 2020, during the pandemic, the government opened up the space sector to private companies. Many experts say this was a late but necessary move. The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) was set up as an independent body under the Department of Space to promote and control space activities in the country. Since then, ISpA, an industry group, has been set up, and there have been hundreds of space startups. At least one company, Skyroot, has already flown its own launch vehicle, and a few startups have launched their own satellites.

The business was started with an eye on the rising commercial space market around the world. Pawan Goenka, the head of IN-SPACe, said before that India wants to get 10% of the commercial market, up from the current 2%. ISRO has also gone after the market with its commercial arms. Its heaviest vehicle, LVM3, can now be used for commercial launches, and its smallest vehicle, which was made for commercial launches on demand, is now working.

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