Space Race: China in orbit with 7 times more funding

NEW DELHI: The Chinese government has spent seven times more than the Indian government in its space program, according to the 2019-2020 Economic Survey published on Friday.

Granting that the space expenditure of the government of India is still lagging behind the main actors in the space sector, the survey shows that the United States spent approximately 13 times more than India in the same year.

While Isro of India spent about $ 1.5 billion in 2018, NASA of the United States spent $ 19.5 billion and the CNSA of China spent $ 11 billion (see table).

India also compares poorly in terms of the number of satellites it launched in the six years between 2013 and 2018.

While Isro, on average, launched around 5-7 satellites, agencies in other countries have launched many more. For example, in 2018, Isro launched seven satellites, while Russia, the United States and China dominated the sector with 20, 31 and 39 satellites, respectively.

Affirming that India has been implementing a policy that involves more private industry in the delivery of space-related goods and services, the survey states: “... Several areas have been identified to attract private investments, including (PSLV); satellite integration and assembly; production of composite materials; production of solid, liquid, cryogenic and semi-cryogenic propellants; and production of electronic packages, tests and evaluation for avionics and satellite subsystems.

He added that the global space economy for 2018 reached about $ 360 billion, which includes the manufacturing of space systems and space-based services. Explaining the areas of focus in this sector, the survey said: “Among the key areas of focus, the first has been satellite communication, with the INSAT/GSAT system as the backbone to address the telecommunications, broadcasting and infrastructure needs of Country satellite broadband.

The second area, he said, has been the observation of land and the use of space-based information for weather forecasting, disaster management, national resource mapping and governance, while the third area has been the satellite-assisted navigation, including GAGAN and NavIC.

“GAGAN, a joint project between ISRO and (AAI), increases the region's GPS coverage to improve the accuracy and integrity of civil aviation applications and better air traffic management over Indian airspace. NavIC, a regional navigation system has also been established to provide position, navigation and synchronization (PNT) services, ”adds the survey.