Space tourism is possible! ISRO tests human flight capability in low Earth orbit
The space tourism market has witnessed significant growth over the past two years due to the emergence of private aerospace companies, but Indian players have yet to enter the lucrative field. The Minister of State for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, recently informed that the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is working to develop local capacity related to space tourism.
In response to a written question, Singh said the Indian government has allowed the private sector to participate in the country’s space activities. He also said that IN-SPACe strives to promote end-to-end space activities.
“ISRO is developing indigenous capabilities in space tourism through the demonstration of human spaceflight capability to low Earth orbit (LEO),” he added.
Moreover, the new space policy is expected to provide various benefits to startups in the country’s space sector. They will be able to access more capital and clarity on certain issues related to their liability in the event of an unfortunate incident. More than a hundred companies are currently active in this field. Some of these include companies involved in the design and construction of satellites.
“A new space policy covering various areas of space activities is being drafted,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh told parliament on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is a major player in the space tourism market. He launched his New Shepard spacecraft from West Texas and carried passengers into space for a brief jaunt. Flights lasted about 10 minutes and offered passengers a view of Earth from space. Moreover, SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk, is currently leading in this sector. His Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying tourists into space.
India’s ISRO space agency is currently working on various missions, including the Gaganyaan mission, which it hopes to launch in 2019.
India’s space tourism potential would require the country to successfully achieve multiple space launches and successfully develop a reusable rocket system to pick up and return tourists. This would require a long-term commitment from government and the private sector, as well as the time and resources to get the project off the ground. Apart from these factors, other factors such as the availability of inexpensive and reliable infrastructure would also be considered to make the space tourism industry a viable business.