India plans to have a sustained human presence in space and is coming out with a policy framework and a long-term roadmap. The Department of Space (DoS) has envisaged a national effort to meet the goal of successful demonstration of human spaceflight capability and to achieve the vision of sustained human presence in space.
India’s maiden human spaceflight module ‘Gaganyaan’ will be launched after the second unmanned mission planned in 2022-23, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said last week. In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the first unmanned launch is slated for December this year.
The DoS has now put up for public consultation on the website of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which comes under the former, the draft “Humans in Space Policy for India — 2021” and guidelines and procedures for its implementation.
DoS believes that given the collaborative nature of human spaceflight due to its multi-disciplinary nature, it is essential to have a policy-framework, which not only fosters partnerships but also addresses proliferation concerns and compliance to existing policies, laws and treaties.
“Human-spaceflight programme needs to be sustained over longer periods to deliver tangible benefits,” according to the draft. Hence, it is essential that the policy enables sustained presence in low earth orbit and beyond through reliable, robust, safe and affordable means by undertaking appropriate capacity building measures like collaborations, infrastructure development, facilities modernisation, technology development and human resource development.
This would also encourage new industries, create high technology jobs, enable socio-economic growth and further enhance India’s stature and role in space, it was noted.