The Minister invited Oceania countries to explore partnerships and joint ventures in the space sector

India is all set to become the hub for the small satellite launch market, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Wednesday as he invited Oceania countries like Australia and New Zealand to collaborate in the space sector.

Speaking at the India Leads-2021 Summit organized by FICCI, Singh said the small satellite launch market is estimated to be valued at around $38 billion by 2027.

The Union Minister of State for the Department of Space pointed out that India had earned worldwide recognition for launching lunar probes, building satellites, ferrying foreign satellites up. The country had even succeeded in reaching Mars, with Mangalyaan being there continuously for a number of years, he added.

'Explore partnerships and joint ventures'

Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, have emerging capabilities in design and manufacture of nano- and micro-satellites including high performance optics, radio communications systems, optical communications systems and on-board data handling maneuvering, the minister pointed out.

He said Oceania and Pacific island countries can collaborate with India and can jointly develop and identify space technological solutions and innovative products to explore partnerships and joint ventures.

The Minister emphasized that there is an opportunity for both regions to collaborate and work on joint projects in some of these areas, with the involvement of academia, industry and the startup community forming an ecosystem for enhanced engagement.

Such partnerships can also help global defence companies expand their businesses, he added.

Pointing out that Australia was a world leader in the use of remote sensing technologies, Singh said India and Oceania countries can collaborate by conducting regular training courses and sharing best practices with each other in this technology.

Australia and India have been partnering since 1987 to support data calibration and laser raging for Indian satellites, launching Australian satellites, and conducting joint research.

The Minister also noted that the Australian Space Agency was working closely with the ISRO on India’s first manned mission into space, Gaganyaan, and was sprucing up its temporary ground station tracking facilities in Australia for the mission.

Over the past few years, Singh noted, the space industry is emerging as one of the most lucrative industries globally and the demand for Nano, micro and mini satellites and re-usable and small satellite launch vehicle systems are anticipated to drive the market.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had forged a strong relationship with many industrial enterprises, both in the public and private sector, to implement its space projects, he informed.

With the ISRO undertaking the development of cutting-edge technologies and interplanetary exploratory missions, there is a tremendous scope in contributions to the realization of operational missions and new areas such as satellite navigation, he added.

India expanding International outreach

Singh pointed out that India had signed cooperative agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with many other countries and organizations as an initiative to expand its international outreach.

The areas of cooperation are mainly concerned with remote sensing of the earth, airborne synthetic aperture radar, maritime domain awareness, satellite communication, launch services, space exploration, space law and capacity building, the minister said.

Dueing his spech, he also spoke about some of the key achievements of the Indian space industry.

* India's first space observatory, ASTROSAT, had completed four years in space and has more than 900 registered users from 24 countries.

* 2017 saw a major milestone with a successful record-setting launch of 104 satellites on a single rocket.

* India's most powerful launch vehicle, GSLV-MK III capable of launching 4 tons of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) was successfully launched in July, 2019.

* The country has to its credit 109 spacecraft missions, 77 launch missions, 10 student satellites, 2 Re-entry missions and 319 foreign satellites, he added.