Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe)
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2021: The beginning
Weeks after the formal clearance for the board of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) was granted by the Centre, the new space body responsible for regulating and hand-holding private industry has begun forming the various directorates that will be located in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.
While the initial recruitment for the same will be from within Isro, there will also be lateral entry from the industry and it may take more than ten to twelve weeks before the four directorates — Co-ordination, technical, safety-and-security and promotion-and-monitoring — are operational. The technical directorate will further be divided into two: One for satellite, launch vehicle and ground station, and the second one for payload and applications.
The co-ordination, technical and safety-and-security directorates will have their directors sit in Ahmedabad, while the director for promotion-and-monitoring will sit in Bengaluru. The first category under the technical directorate, the one meant for satellites, launch vehicles and ground station will be hosted in Bengaluru with a deputy director, while the second category (payload and applications) will be at Ahmedabad headed by an assistant director.
“We’ve started the process of recruitment for the directorates. Many of them would be transferred from Isro and there will be some lateral entry. There is no fixed number for lateral entries at this moment. I would be shuffling between Bengaluru, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, but most of the work will be in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad,” Pawan Goenka, chairperson, IN-SPACe, told TOI.
Department of Space secretary K Sivan said that given the requirement of relevant experience to begin with, some experienced people from Isro will be deputed to IN-SPACe, following which recruitment for the lateral posts will begin. “...The idea of having the directorates at different Isro centres based on various requirements of the directorates,” Sivan said.
As per documents reviewed by TOI, the first batch of recruitment will see filling up of 15 posts: Directors for co-ordination, technical and promotion-and-monitoring directorates; deputy directors for technical, safety-and-security and promotion-and-monitoring; assistant directors for co-ordination, technical, safety-and-security and promotion-and-monitoring, and an OSD (officer on special duty) to the chairperson.
“...With the ad hoc manpower IN-SPACe has now, we are already reviewing the proposals before IN-SPACe, hand-holding them. Once the policies and process are approved by the government, we will start formally approving proposals made by the companies. We expect to be fully operational by the end of the first quarter,” Goenka added.
Roles & Responsibilities
The co-ordination directorate will be the interface with applicants, act as a nodal point for DoS and IN-SPACe, co-ordinate activities of all the directorates and manage day-to-day affairs.
While this is mainly a liasoning job, the technical directorate will be responsible for the “assessment and evaluation of proposals keeping in mind technical requirements, infrastructure capability, technical maturity, quality requirements, etc,” and will also be the body that will plan and supervise technical activities of non-governmental entities within Isro premises.
Other responsibilities of this directorate include: “...Co-ordination with ministries for ITU filing procedures; ensuring interference-free operations and compatibility with ITU filings of India and other countries; develop methodologies and mechanisms for assessing and evaluating proposals; generate quality and reliability standards for commercial space activities.”
The security-and-safety directorate will be responsible for overall safety, including in-orbit assets and ground stations. It will formulate guidelines and protocols to be followed, give assessments of safety requirements, range safety aspects, liability, etc, aside from “establishing mechanism to address requirements pertaining to applications in the domains of national security, strategic communications and surveillance; it will also deal with cyber security concerns.”
The promotion-and-monitoring directorate is responsible for supervision of end-to-end space activities, co-ordination of space situational awareness, debris mitigation and monitoring, providing alerts, registration of space objects in space registry, interference monitoring for communications etc.
It will also develop programmes for promoting space industry ecosystem, create space awareness, establish capacity-building facilities and infrastructure, etc.