Source : Firstpost
Another India China rivalry !! This time it is in $447 billion Space Economy !!
New Delhi: Russia Ukraine war and China’s tensions with the US over a series of incidents that led to geopolitical isolation of China and Russia to pitch itself as a reliable alternative to SpaceX, India is muscling in on the increasingly lucrative space business.
Given the long-running space programmes, Russia, China along with Elon Musk’s SpaceX have been the main players in launching satellites but conflict with the US mean they’re now off limits to many would-be customers.
The prevailing global situation has turned out favourable for India to become a reliable alternative to launch satellites for countries at comparatively cheaper rates.
UK-based OneWeb turned to India after Russia reportedly scuppered the original launch last year, taking 36 of its spacecraft hostages. Last Month, ISRO launched 36 communications satellites for the OneWeb. The move signalled India’s ambitions to become a soft power in the sector.
Congratulations @NSIL_India @INSPACeIND @ISRO on yet another successful launch of LVM3 with 36 @OneWeb satellites. It reinforces India’s leading role as a global commercial launch service provider in the true spirit of Aatmanirbharta. https://t.co/GflGAN2Wlr
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 26, 2023
France’s Arianespace has also faced problems getting the newest rocket ready for use at the same time. Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc., the satellite-launch company tied to British billionaire Richard Branson, said last week that it was ceasing operations indefinitely following a launch failure in January and due to growing cash-crunch pressures that have paralyzed startups in many emerging technologies.
“If SpaceX is full, busy or expensive, you have to look elsewhere – and you can’t look at China,” Dallas Kasaboski, principal analyst with Northern Sky Research, a space research and the consulting firm told Bloomberg. “China can’t work with North America and the US drives the majority of demand.”
“Politically, India is in a much better place,” he said.
According to estimates, the demand for high-speed internet delivered from space has made launching satellites into orbit a lucrative business. The space economy is projected to grow to $600 billion from $447 billion in 2020 by 2025, according to Ernst & Young estimates.
Chinese rockets are not considered a good option for many satellite operators, because of growing concerns about Beijing accessing Western technology. Comparatively, India has developed stronger ties not only with the US but with other regional powers including Australia and Japan. And importantly, the country’s launches cost less than other rivals.
According to a report by Indian Space Association (ISpA) and EY, India’s space economy is set to grow to $13 billion by 2025 from $9.6 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate of 6 per cent.
India is transforming itself from a space-capable country to a country with space technology capacity. The satellite services and applications segment is likely to form the largest share of the space economy accounting for 36% by 2025.
Greater demand for high bandwidth and lower latency data requirements, increase in IoT and autonomous systems, and demand for military and defence satellite communication solutions is giving a leg up to this segment, the report noted.
ISRO is also showing interest in the small satellite market as it is building a small rocket with a capacity to transport satellites 500 kg-700 kg to low Earth orbit.
India also fares well in terms of the number of space tech companies, it said, adding that there was a total of 368 space tech companies in India in May 2021, occupying fifth position globally after the US, UK, Canada and Germany in that order. This has been largely fuelled by the role of private equity and venture capital investments in recent years.
The report calls 2021 a “watershed year” for spacetech startups in India with private investments reaching $68 million, a 196 per cent YoY increase, taking the total number of space tech startups in India to over 100.