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Q 17- India's space endeavours have been halted due to the Covid-19 epidemic; nonetheless, India must remain competitive in order to deliver effective services to its clientele. Comment. (250 words)

Paper & Topic: GS III à Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers,

  Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual

  Property Rights.

 

  • Model Answer:

 

  • Introduction:
  • India's space endeavours have been halted due of the Covid-19 epidemic.
  • ISRO's space launch activities have come to a halt, despite major reforms in the space sector implemented in 2019 and 2020.
  • Chandrayaan-3 and Gaganyaan are two important projects that have been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The third expedition to the Moon, Chandrayaan-3, is set to launch later this year.
  • To mitigate risks and interruptions, ISRO should prioritise pursuing pre-launch automation with more fervour.

 

  • Body:

 

  • The current state of the Indian space industry is as follows:
  • India's worldwide percentage of total space launches, at 1.8 percent, remains modest.
  • Between the first and second waves of COVID-19 in India, the three launches from the Sriharikota Range took place between November 2020 and February 2021.
  • The satellite customer base that India's economically successful PSLV enjoyed for 20 years is diminishing dramatically as a result of the new competition.
  • It will take time for new start-ups to establish themselves.
  • The first demonstrations from India's space-launch start-ups, Agnikul Cosmos and Skyroot Aerospace, which recently raised $11 million in Series A funding each, are still a few quarters away, as is the first space launch from ISRO's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), which is marketed by the state-owned New Space India Limited (NSIL). Situation in the space sector around the world.
  • Other launch vehicle developers, such as SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, China's Long March, ExPace, and OneSpace, and New Zealand's Rocket Lab, have continued to test and provide launch services despite the pandemic.

 

  • Why Private enterprises founded during the epidemic must have unrestricted access to space testing facilities in order to produce vehicles quickly:

 

  • ISRO must obtain SSLV space-proven credentials as soon as possible in order to fit the GSLV MK-III for Gaganyaan, its human spaceflight mission.
  • Reusable space plane testing and on-field evaluation for orbital and sub-orbital flights must be hastened. ISRO's hypersonic space plane, the reusable launch vehicle (RLV-TD), has been awaiting tests since 2016.
  • More launch vehicles are in experimental and operational phases in India than ever before.
  • It calls for a national policy on commercial space transportation in the sub-orbital, orbital, and interplanetary realms.
  • This requires the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), like the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States, to broaden its scope to include commercial space transportation.
  • A collaborative DoS-DGCA national policy, similar to NASA-FAA synergies, can enable India's space launch centres and spaceports become more market-oriented and equipped for commercial, military, civilian, and experimental space launches.
  • In this method, space launch service providers and space launch technology businesses can collaborate.

 

  • India's Next Steps:
  • Despite the pandemic, ISRO will have to choose less labor-intensive projects to undertake.
  • In the following weeks and months, ISRO will have to identify missions and change its strategy to pursue less demanding missions in order to avoid delays and rescheduling, which is currently unknown.
  • Even without COVID-19, ISRO was on a path to enhance mission complexity and numbers, which only emphasises the importance of developing and integrating automation technology to reduce, if not completely eliminate, human labour and intervention at its ground launch sites.
  • Unlike India, the United States has a private sector that can meet the criteria of some launch missions even if there is a health emergency, reducing the pressure on a government-run space programme.

 

  • Conclusion:
  • Given the foregoing, it should now become a priority for ISRO to pursue pre-launch automation with more vigour in order to mitigate risks and disruptions.
  • Although limited pre-launch automation exists and is utilised by space organisations all around the world, including the ISRO, it is not widely developed and employed.
  • There would be substantially less incentive to move quickly on technology investments if there were no pandemic as infectious as the current one.
  • COVID-19, on the other hand, may and should encourage more zealous pursuit of opportunities and investment in the AI subfields of Machine Learning (ML) and robotics.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.
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