Very recently, the government of India has allowed the entry of private players in the sector of space and space technology. Earlier, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) was reluctant on accepting private companies. However, for furthering the knowledge of space technology, they have opened up to start-ups and MSMEs.
On 10th September, under the Atal Innovation Mission ARISE Program, three challenges were announced by DoS. These challenges were- propulsion, geospatial information, and robotics/AR/VR. Ever since the announcement, about 200 proposals for the mentioned challenges have been submitted. Experts are in the process of reviewing the applications now, as reported by ISRO Chairman and DoS secretary.
Sivan called the private sector a ‘co-traveler’ for space aspirations and said, “Similar announcements of opportunities will be made for our future programs, including planetary missions.” This can be considered as an indication of many more challenges to come in the future.
A workshop on “Empowering India’s Start-ups to transform Space Sector with ISOR and AIM” was organized on 10th September where a new program, SEED (Space Enterprise Encouragement and Development) was introduced.
Sivan said, “SEED is envisaged as a competitive early-stage encouragement program for innovative small business concerns or startups interested in products or services in-focus areas of space technology.” This program will help in addressing many real-time issues that MSMEs and startups might face when working in the space sector.
Important people from the industry like CISCO and SAP, T-Hub, GE, NumaAccelerators, and Curefit spoke about their experiences and provided guidance to the new start-ups. About 50 startups were a part of the webinar and 590 were present off-line.
Along with furthering their own incubation programs, the DoS (Department of Space) will also be looking at products and services that will have the potential to benefit space technology. Sivan also announced that DoS has initiated the process for technical mentorship.