Private entities posing threat to space programmes of nations, says former ISRO chief https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/private-entities-posing-threat-to-space-programmes-of-nations-says-former-isro-chief-5327461/

Private entities posing threat to space programmes of nations, says former ISRO chief 

"Few of the countries like United States and Luxembourg have already enacted legislation to encourage the active participation of the private sector in exploration and commercial uses of space resources. Asteroid mining takes the lead," said AS Kiran Kumar.

 AS Kiran Kumar, former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). (Express Photo by Ashwin Sadhu)

The private enterprises involved in outerspace activities is posing threat to the way nations run their space programmes, said AS Kiran Kumar, former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

“Space as a fourth frontier is attracting more and more attention from private enterprises. Today we have companies which are established systems and who are making progress at a fast pace. We have heard of an individual talking about making humanity a multi-planetary species. Now the pace at which he is driving the space industry is quite phenomenal. Space adventure, tourism and exploration are actually becoming a reality,” Kiran Kumar said while addressing an event at Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) at Gandhinagar on Monday.

“The pace at which developments are being done by private enterprises, is posing significant threat to the way the nations run space programmes. In earlier decades, the national establishments had their own pace at which they could decide and make things happen. It is no longer possible, because today space has become one of the coveted areas,” he added. The senior scientist also gave an example of a private firm that controlled a constellation of 200 satellites which could take picture of the entire globe everyday. “You can imagine the capabilities they bring,” he said at the event where Air Marshal RK Dhir, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Air Command, Indian Air Force, was also present.

Calling for new treaties and policies to be framed to tackle “space debris”, ensuring security of space objects and exploration and use of space resources, Kiran Kumar who also headed India’s Space Commission -country’s policy making body for matters related to space exploration -in the past said, “Few of the countries like United States and Luxembourg have already enacted legislation to encourage the active participation of the private sector in exploration and commercial uses of space resources. Asteroid mining takes the lead.”

Talking about involvement of private players in the activities of ISRO, Kirankumar said, the Indian space agency was looking at forming a joint consortium or joint venture with private players to manufactured PSLV in the future. He said the space agency also looking at involving private players in the manufacture of satellites and satellite-sub-systems.