SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites June 3, 2020 / SpaceX

India unveils draft of Spacecom Policy-2020, Seeks feedback

India has unveiled the Draft Space Based Communication Policy 2020 (Spacecom Policy-2020) with draft Norms, Guidelines and Procedures for implementation of Spacecom NGP-2020.

Under the policy guidelines, Indian private sector players wanting to provide communication service inside and outside India using a space-based asset are liable for damages caused to other space objects in outer space and its environment.

Releasing the draft, the Department of Space (DOS) said private players can provide communication services using space based assets within and outside India but any damages that may occur to other space objects in the outer space the private service providers are liable for financial damages and they have to take care of that by providing financial guarantee or insurance cover.

The extent of financial guarantee or the insurance cover will be determined by the Indian authorising/licensing body taking into account the risks involved. The DOS has called for comments on the draft policy by 4.11.2020.

Space Asset Authorisation

Under the draft Spacecom Policy-2020, any communication service within the Indian territory from space can be carried out only with an authorised space asset and only Indian entities are eligible for obtaining space asset authorisation and any Indian entity can seek authorisation for use of space asset for communication within Indian territory. This authorisation extends to use of Indian orbital resource, non-Indian orbital resource, use of owned or leased space asset.

The draft policy requires Indian companies to establish ground system within Indian territory for monitoring and controlling space asset, while the use of outer space for peaceful purposes is governed by the UN treaties and international conventions, use of orbital resources is governed by radio regulations of the specialised UN agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Government of India as member of such UN bodies has responsibilities and obligations towards use of outer space as a common asset of humans.

It states that the use of space based communication in any frequency of electromagnetic spectrum, to or from Indian territory, be permitted through a process of authorisation under the provisions of Spacecom Policy-2020. Indian entities can establish and operate satellite systems to provide capacity for communication services with authorisations.

Own Satellites

Indian entities can undertake design, development and realisation of satellites and associated communication systems. They can establish satellite system through their own built satellite or procured satellite and establish telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) earth stations and satellite control centre (SCC) in or outside India. They can offer the capacity to commercial and societal communications within India as well as outside India. They can also supply their systems and solutions to international markets.

“The authorization requires a satisfactory commitment by the applicant through an appropriate arrangement with the concerned foreign administration which has the priority for the use of the proposed orbital resources. In case of a leased space asset, apart from the applicant, the operator of such asset shall also agree and commit for the arrangement of bringing the orbital resources eventually under Indian administration,” the draft policy stated.

The Spacecom Policy-2020 Highlights:

  • Monitor and authorise use of space assets for communication to or from Indian territory.
  • Ensure protection of space assets already put in place and adopt measures to bring in more space assets under the administrative control for enhancing ability to utilize space based communication for national needs.
  • Promote increased participation of commercial Indian industry to provide space based communications both within the country and outside.
  • Concentrate on realisation of space based communication systems for addressing the requirements that cannot be effectively, affordably and reliably satisfied by commercial Indian industry either because of national security concerns or economic factors.
  • Provide a timely and responsive regulatory environment for the commercial Indian industry to establish and operate space based communication systems.

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