Future Indian Space-Perspectives of Game Changers, (IAC-16.E3.3.12)

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Guadalajara, Mexico (2016)




In the past 50 years, Indian Space has seen many successful milestones – demonstrating excelling Indian technology and widespread utilization of space services in different areas of national economy. Present capabilities and capacities of Indian Space are mainly in the unitary capabilities of the national space agency – this has enabled the nation to significantly achieve about 10-12 high-quality missions every year. Meeting future domestic needs AND benefitting by access to large global market of space will require a quantum jump in capabilities and capacities to be served. Another important development is the aspirational growth of Indian economy and the people. With a GDP growth hover around 7-8% and a few trillion dollar economy, the nation has launched important developmental initiatives - Digital India, Make in India, Smart City, Swach Bharat, National Education Mission and National Skill Mission programmes. Thus, demands for diverse applications of space technology are inevitable – integrating across geographical, sectoral and temporal domains of the country. In an earlier suo-moto study, we have outlined the future 10-20 years of policy perspectives for Indian Space development and also outlined the perspectives of how a National Space Eco-system would emerge – evolving from the present national space agency into a “public-private-academia triad”. Looking ahead of such a national eco-system, we now visualize critical developments that will bring impacting and paradigm shifts to holistic Indian Space through the “triad” – Game Changers. With about 100-150 possible missions in coming 10-20 years – encompassing EO, satellite communications, positioning, space science, planetary missions, operational and advanced launch access missions and the initiation of a human space flight programme, the “critical shifts” would be not just technological advancements but organizational re-structuring from emerging newer organizational arrangements, industrialization and emergence of private space industry, deeper penetration of space services in Indian society, increasing global presence of Indian players and a vibrant cooperative and collaboration at international level. What will drive these game-changers? Cost efficiency will be one key driver - amply demonstrated in many sectors for global markets, this will impact global space markets and bring a “levelling effect” across global markets. Indian skills and human resources will be another driver – with Indian scientists, engineers and managers playing a major role in national and global space. Third will be “Indian innovation” – ability to improvise and innovate with simple, low-cost BUT effective solutions. These 3 drivers will bring a new economic model that balances systems, costs and performance. The paper provides a perspective of future Indian Space and outlines “game changers” impacts that will emerge for space activities in India. The paper also discusses how, in an integrated manner, Indian Space can and should reach greater heights by key policy, strategy and actions for the coming few decades.