As the world enters the Second Space Age, an Indo-Emirati space partnership can be a lodestar for others. However, it is only the people-to-people connect and the diversity of the innovation linkages between the Emirati and Indian diaspora, that can truly make it a success for science and citizens, and help achieve their aspirations for the 21st century.
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 15, 2020
COVID-19 has accelerated internet usage and is making digital infrastructure even more indispensable globally. India is actively laying this critical infrastructure on the ground, but is yet to work on the strategic ‘last-mile’ connectivity space-based ICT and 5G plus services. U.S. and China have fast-tracked this, and India should immediately implement the recent space reforms to be regarded as a significant player.
The recent use of geospatial analyses by Indian social and mainstream media for near real-time defence and military intelligence in Ladakh has been made possible because of the lower cost of earth-observation satellite construction, and thereby, easy access to satellite imagery on the internet. While independent analysis is useful, the same intelligence can be also used against the interests of a sovereign nation by an adversary, especially border imagery. India must find innovative methods to reduce this vulnerability of commercial satellite imagery.
The government’s recent reforms in the space sector have unleashed the imagination, innovation and potential of Indian space start-ups. Strong support from the private sector and inherent Indian technological aptitude will help them fuel India’s space ambitions and economic growth in the 21st Century.
Yesterday's path-breaking reforms in India's space sector by the Prime Minister's Office, and establishment of new space agencies, are geared to encourage technology innovation and direct participation by corporations, startups and MSMEs. The reforms will help India leverage Industry 4.0 and the astropolitics that will result. This podcast foreshadows these developments.
The launch of the U.S.’s Dragon-2 astronaut capsule by SpaceX has a resonance in India too. India’s future heavy-lift launchers, already under development, can be competitive if they are transformed to Two-Stage-To-Orbit and made reusable. The successors to Gaganyaan, Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan, developed in public-private partnerships, can result in a vast domestic launch market for India’s heavy-lift rocket capability.
On 16 May, the government introduced a huge reform that liberalised India's space sector, leveling the field and propelling the space ambitions of private players. Corporations such as L&T and Godrej Aerospace, can now compete and collaborate with the Indian Space Research Organisation, to build an indigenous Boeing or Lockheed Martin, and be part of global, private, space industry syndicates. The timing is significant, as the space race has accelerated with the U.S. and China marking their space territories through Accords and SEZs. India now is much better equipped to launch its space agenda. This paper analyses India's future potential.
Under the ‘Artemis Accords’ the U.S. is planning an international coalition to extract natural resources from the Moon. China is concurrently planning an Earth-Moon Special Economic Zone. India’s antiquated endorsement of the 1979 Moon Agreement is shackling its true potential for economics-driven space exploration. India must immediately do away with Cold-War era, vintage whims of global commons.
The COVID19-caused migration of India’s large workforce to their rural roots holds immense promise for the country’s agriculture productivity and farmer incomes. Precision agritech and satellite-as-a-service (SAAS) can reduce the urban-rural skill, remuneration, and digital divide. Time to privatize space technology for agricultural benefit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deficiencies of India’s precision instrument import-dependency and the global supply-chain vulnerabilities of international high-tech manufacturing giants. New Delhi can incentivise such companies to manufacture under the Make in India and Assemble for the World in India programmes