The highly space-capable Quad powers have agreed to share their respective satellite datasets for monitoring climate change, disasters and the use of natural resources. With global security encompassing armed confrontation to environmental damage, the Quad’s planetary collaboration will go a long way in protecting the green and blue environment.
Fellow, Space and Ocean Studies Programme
Dr. Chaitanya Giri is the Gateway House Fellow of Space and Ocean Studies Programme. His present research focuses aquapolitics and astropolitics, the new-age techno-geostrategy, the space and marine industrial complex, and the science of space exploration. Prior to Gateway House, Dr. Giri has worked as planetary and astromaterials scientist for nearly a decade. He was affiliated to the Earth-Life Science Institute at Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Geophysical Laboratory at Carnegie Institution for Science, and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as an ELSI Origins Network Fellow. He was earlier an International Max Planck Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany and the University of Nice in France. Dr. Giri was also a scientific crew member of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. He is a recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the 2014 Dieter Rampacher Prize of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Science, Germany and the 2016-2018 ELSI Origins Network Fellowship by the John Templeton Foundation, USA to name a few.
Geo- and Space Strategy, Technology Forecasting, Space Exploration, Space Advocacy, Science
Last modified: October 7, 2021
In June this year, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency collaborated with Honda Research to build an energy system for surface mobility on the moon. SpaceX and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Tesla and Mitsubishi Motors have similar alliances, reflecting the increased participation of the automotive sector in the space economy. Tokyo wants its biggest export, automobiles, to pick up stakes in this space. India should have a similar ambition. The May 2020 space reforms recognise the significance of commercialising the space sector. But now is the time for long-term R&D investments in the domestic auto sector, to help India step into this play.
As the private or autonomous space industry becomes more developed, an interesting phenomena is occurring. The public sector which runs space programmes has lagged behind, but also profits from the recent success of private space companies are limited to direct stakeholders. After a decade of private investment, it is worth assessing why countries like the U.S., Russia, China and India have pursued independence from government entities in space over the last decade.
India’s space reforms have the potential to boost India-Taiwan space relations beyond the pure scientific domain. The two countries have the potential for collaboration between space start-ups, joint ventures, investments, and technology and infrastructure-sharing. This article highlights the scope for India to establish Track 1.5 and Track 2 space diplomacy with Taiwan.
The Indian administration enacted much-needed space reforms in 2020, paving the way for a private space industry in the country. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended space launch activities in the country. The Department of Space must remove these redundancies to make India’s space launch centers and spaceports market-oriented and ready for commercial, military, civilian, and experimental space launches.
On 25-26 May 2021, United Nations India held a Virtual Conference on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI): Exploring pluri-perspectives in conjunction with OP Jindal University. Chaitanya Giri, Fellow, Space and Ocean Studies Programme, spoke on 'Operationalising AI ethics from a Pluri-Philosophical Lens', where he made the case for Sanskrit as an applicable language for instilling ethics in AI. He also emphasized the need for greater scientific inquiry in natural intelligence to avoid skewed technological progress with AI.
With the space sector being divided into astro-political blocs, India can't afford to stay non-aligned. A recent treaty between China and Russia makes it plain for India that leaving space exploration to a few science aficionados can be dangerous. India needs a national space exploration strategy with tangible economic and meta-strategic goals in sight.
India has had big successes during its first stint as an observer in the Arctic Council. Since then, the country has made substantial progress in its climate action pledges and developed comprehensive strategies to mitigate climate change. With its re-election, India can now offer much more to the global organisation's role in promoting environmental stability in the polar region.
As the density of satellites increases in Earth's orbit, extreme space weather events like solar storms and radiation whiplashes threaten satellite constellations. A ‘whole-of-government’ approach is needed to address the challenges of space weather on India’s converging space and digital economies.
With an increasing human and robotic footprint in the solar system, there is a need to develop robust regulatory mechanisms to prevent the “forward” and “backward” biochemical contamination of these unexplored celestial bodies.