INDIA ADDA – Perspectives On India

IBEF works with a network of stakeholders - domestic and international - to promote Brand India.



Dikshu C. Kukreja
Dikshu C. Kukreja
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Sanjay Bhatia
Sanjay Bhatia
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Colin Shah
Colin Shah
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Alok Kirloskar
Alok Kirloskar
Pragati Khare
Pragati Khare
Devang Mody
Devang Mody
Vinay Kalantri
Vinay Kalantri

Opening up New Opportunities in the Indian Space Sector

Opening up New Opportunities in the Indian Space Sector


India is one of the top 5 space-faring countries in the world, with numerous space opportunities. India is renowned for producing affordable satellites and launch vehicles. The estimated value of the worldwide space economy is US$ 440 billion. Despite having the most advanced space program in the world, the space sector in India makes up only 2.1% of the global space economy. The Government of India has started space sector reforms to encourage, support, regulate, and provide start-ups and private companies, an opportunity to engage in space operations to grow their market share globally. As of May 2021, India had a total of 368 space tech businesses, placing it fifth in the global arena. The significance of the space industry in enabling services and applications across several industries, such as media and entertainment, weather forecasting, disaster management, agriculture, geological and oceanographic studies, navigation, broadband services, and remote sensing, demonstrates the importance of the sector. A period of expansion, innovation, and faster investment in the industry has started with the opening of the space economy to private participation across all phases of the value chain. This opportunity for private businesses is to move up in the value chain and propel India on the innovation front in the space sector.

Opportunities in the Indian Space Sector

India contributed 2.1% to the global space industry economy in 2020, amounting to US$ 9.6 billion, with a contribution of 0.4% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

  • Launch Services

They are responsible for launching rockets and spacecraft that study the Earth and the universe. India has emerged as the leader in third-party launch services, as ISRO solely generated US$ 167.5 million by launching satellites for 26 different nations from 2014-2019. Private space firms are coming up and striving to make India a hub for small satellite launches. The launch segment is becoming a key area for start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as they have developed a significant amount of competence in orbit management for LEO, MEO, and GEO satellite launches. Additionally, with emerging technological developments like semi-cryogenic engines, reusable launch vehicles, two-stage-to-orbit (TSTO) rocket launch vehicles, and others are driving industries to expand into new space opportunities. The major private players in this industry are Skyroot Aerospace, Agnikul Cosmos, etc.

  • Satellite Manufacturing

In 2020, 84% of the satellites produced globally were utilized for business communications. In India, ISRO has been catering to this segment, but the growing demand for small satellites offers huge opportunities to many private companies. Moreover, the space parks will offer economies of scale to SMEs and start-ups by using shared resources and facilities. The emerging private players in this sector are Dhruva Space, Pixxel Space India Pvt Ltd, Bellatrix Aerospace, Manastu Space, and more.

  • Ground Segment

It is also called satellite communication (SATCOM). It refers to communication systems that transport signals from one area to another using an orbiting satellite. The main sector of the space economy is the satellite ground equipment, which includes consumer and network equipment (gateways and VSATs) (Sat TV, radio, broadband equipment, navigation). The network operations centres and earth stations comprise a satellite communications system that controls satellites along with the up-linking and down-linking of data from satellites. This earth station is connected with an end user’s equipment directly or via a terrestrial network used for communication technology. The Indian ground station equipment market is estimated at US$ 3.1 billion in 2020, projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% during the period 2020-2025. Some important players in this field are Rocketeers, Team Indus, NoPo Nanotechnologies, etc.

  • Satellite Services

This segment is currently seeing a boom in activity, due to the spurring demand for higher bandwidth, lower latency, and innovative services powered by LEO satellites, new business models. This boost is due to the proliferation of small satellites, creating new revenue streams for the satellite sector. Satellite communication has an impact on many industries in India, including consumer services, fixed satellite services, mobile satellite services, remote sensing services, position, velocity, and timing (PVT) services, and more. Some of the private players in this industry are Skylo Technologies, Blue Sky Analytics, Kawa Space, and many more.

Private Sector Contribution to Indian Space Industry

The following are some of the space companies and their respective work contributions to the Indian space economy:




Project Details


Skyroot Aerospace Pvt Ltd

2018, Hyderabad

Skyroot Aerospace is a launch vehicle manufacturer and commercial launch service provider. The company developed India’s first private launch vehicle, Vikram-1. It was successfully launched into space during a mission called Prarambh. They also intend to launch Vikram-2 and Vikram-3 in the upcoming years.


Dhruva Space

2012, Bangalore

Dhruva Space produces satellites along with earth stations and launch services solutions. They indigenously developed satellite deployment systems compatible with the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-DSOD-1U. Additionally, they further plan to launch Thybolt-1 and 2 satellites.


Agnikul Cosmos

2017, Chennai

Agnikul Cosmos intends to make space accessible to everyone. They have successfully built a 3D-printed engine, Agnilet. Moreover, they have established a launchpad and mission control centre, within the ISRO campus.


PixxelSpace India Pvt Ltd

2019, Bangalore

PixxelSpace is developing a constellation of hyperspectral earth imaging satellites and analytical software tools to extract insights from the data. They are building lightweight and advanced-technology satellites.


Bellatrix Aerospace

2015, Bangalore

Bellatrix Aerospace aims to enhance the development of core technologies in launch vehicles, new-generation propellants, and electric propulsion. It plans to launch a rocket, Chetak in the upcoming year.

Source: Company websites & ISRO (Monthly Report)

Investment in Space Start-ups in India

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been the primary aerospace service provider in the space segment since its inception, in 1969. However, with the changing ecosystem, India has seen a boom with many private players entering the space sector and playing key roles in the Indian space economy. This major shift would revolutionize the sector by reducing costs and turnaround time, with innovation and advanced technology.

In the following figure, the investment growth can be witnessed in the Indian space start-up industry. In the year 2022, there has been a spurring increment in investments by almost double the amount in the previous fiscal year. It has been also witnessed that several new private players are entering the space tech industry of India.

The private sector has been primarily engaged in developing build-to-print manufacturers, and component-level/subsystem-level. There is a larger demand for private enterprises to climb up the value chain and develop into full-scale satellite/launch vehicle manufacturers because of the steady rise in space missions over the past 10 years. The development of small satellites has greatly increased the potential for several businesses in the satellite manufacturing industry. Low Earth Orbit (LEO) players are expressing interest in partnering with Indian firms to purchase locally-made satellite communications equipment. Moreover, Government's "Make in India" policy has built confidence in satellite producers to attract foreign businesses. India is on the verge of transformation triggered by technology as numerous private players are using cutting-edge technologies to provide ground-breaking space solutions. Therefore, in line with the "Atmanirbhar Bharat" mission, the government is promoting the private sector’s launch systems for satellites and other spacecraft.

Government Initiatives

Space Remote Sensing Policy of India – 2020

To promote the commercialization of space technology, the "Space Remote Sensing Policy - 2020" (SpaceRS Policy - 2020) aims to motivate different stakeholders in the nation to actively participate in space-based remote sensing operations. Easy access to data and information from space-based remote sensing will make it possible to develop knowledge-based solutions to many of the country's planning and monitoring needs. The norms of the policy are as follows:

  • An Indian entity's space asset for gathering remote sensing data
  • Indian ground station for data receiving and/or remote sensing satellite monitoring and control
  • Space asset for remote sensing data dissemination across Indian territory
  • Remote sensing data/services of Indian territory emanating from the space asset
  • Space-based remote sensing systems for societal applications, strategic purposes, and research & development
  • Usage of space-based remote sensing systems
  • Timely and responsive regulatory environment

Space communication Policy - 2020

The policy aspires to address the nation's expanding needs for space-based communications and the creation of pertinent technologies for self-sustenance in the fields of commercial, secure, and societal communications. The policy encourages the promotion of Indian businesses as a partner in achieving these goals.

  • Take action to supervise and approve the use of space assets for communication to or from Indian territory
  • Make sure that existing space assets are protected and adopt measures to bring new space assets under administrative control to improve the nation's ability to use space-based communication
  • Encourage greater commercial Indian sector involvement in providing space-based communications both inside and outside of the nation
  • To create and run space-based communication systems, the commercial Indian industry needs a quick and flexible regulatory environment
  • Focus on developing space-based communication technologies to meet needs that Indian commercial enterprise is unable to meet efficiently, economically, or reliably due to issues with national security or the economy

The continued efforts of the Government of India can be witnessed in the rising trends in the budget allocation from the fiscal year 2020-21 to the fiscal year 2022-23. The increased FDIs and government expenditures would boost the Indian space industry injecting a push to the private sector.

Source: India Budget

Moreover, Government has introduced various public-owned government bodies such as:

  • The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)

Its duties include promoting, enabling authorizing, and supervising the NGEs' various space activities, such as developing launch vehicles and satellites and offering space-based services, sharing existing space infrastructure and facilities under Department of Space (DOS)/ISRO control, and establishing new space infrastructure and facilities.

  • Antrix Corporation Limited

It is the commercial and marketing arm of the DOS, responsible for identifying markets/products with market potential, identifying core competencies in the industry, bringing financial viability, completing the national space program, and accelerating commercial, and technical partnerships with private industries, India can increase its participation through collaborations and partnerships and become a preferred global destination for space commerce.

  • New Space India Limited (NSIL)

To provide satellite services for diverse domestic and international demands, enabling technology spin-offs for the benefit of humanity through industry interaction, and assisting SMEs in expanding their high technology manufacturing base for space activities.

  • The Indian Space Association (ISpA)

To make India self-sufficient, technologically advanced, and a major player in the global space arena, it will engage in policy advocacy, engage, and operate with all stakeholders, and act as a catalyst for accelerating the exchange of knowledge, information, and technology of space-related domains amongst all stakeholders of the entire Indian Space ecosystem, including the government and its agencies.

  • Future Roadmap

Since 1975, India has launched 129 satellites of Indian origin and 342 foreign satellites from 36 different countries. Below is a list of upcoming missions announced by ISRO:

Upcoming ISRO Missions



Expected Launch





February 2023 (Expected)

Solar Observation

It would be the first space-based Indian mission to study the solar corona using a solar coronagraph. It would study the solar events during their passage from Sun to Earth.


X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat)

Q2 2023

(Delayed due to the pandemic)

Space Observatory

ISRO planned a space observatory to study the polarisation of cosmic X-rays, launched on a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). The mission is expected to last for five years to study approximately 50 brightest sources in the universe and gauge the radiation from each of them. 



June 2023 (Expected)

Lunar Lander, Rover

The third lunar mission, the successor of Chandrayaan-2. The rover carrying a communications relay satellite to report back to earth, ensuring a soft landing on the moon.




Crewed Spacecraft

It intends to demonstrate human spaceflight capability, by launching a crew of 3 members to an orbit of 400 km for a three-day mission and bringing them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian seawater.




Venus Orbiter

The Indian Venusian orbiter mission is planned to study the atmosphere of Venus.


Lunar Polar Exploration Mission

After 2024

Lunar Lander, Rover

This mission will explore the south pole region of the Moon, confirming the presence of water, but investigate the quantity, distribution on the lunar surface and below ground, and the form the water exists in, such as the level of mixing with dry regolith (small particles).



To be Determined (TBD)

SAR Satellite

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) to develop and launch the first dual-band radar imaging satellite for remote sensing.


Mangalyaan 2

To be Determined (TBD)

Mars Orbiter

India's 2nd interplanetary mission would include a panchromatic camera, radar, and a hyperspectral camera to understand the early stages of Mars.



To be Determined (TBD)

Space Telescope

A successor to AstroSat-1, India’s second multi-wavelength space telescope, is expected to study astrophysics and astronomy. The key areas would include neutron stars, black holes, binary star systems, and star berth regions.


Space Docking Experiment (SPADEX)

To be Determined (TBD)

Satellite Split

This mission is the first step towards India’s own Space Station via the first-ever satellite split-unit complex manoeuvre. It would involve two separate satellites connecting and then splitting in outer space.

Source: Company Websites and News Articles

The Road Ahead

AatmaNirbhar Bharat's vision calls for a significant revamp of government-led space activities to make it a reality. India needs a space law to support a thriving domestic space industry and the vision of the country's expanding participation in the global space economy. As ISRO certainly can’t meet India’s rising demand for space-based services more than ever. Therefore, it is essential to provide a favourable policy environment to encourage private sector investment. These regulations should aim to create an environment that will support and empower entrepreneurs and SMEs to create internationally scalable, end-to-end products and services. Also, there is a need to develop competency, such as an academic emphasis on system development, or companies are spending a lot of money training employees in systems engineering. They also need to view the entire space segment as one system, close gaps in interdependence, improve interfaces and interaction, build technologies for newer software-defined satellites, and more. With India’s prowess in Information Technology (IT) sectors and talent, there is so much potential that the Indian Space Sector holds to become a prominent player in the global space.