New York: The New York Times (NYT) has commended India’s ambitious space programme, asserting that the country, which currently hosts around 140 registered space-tech start-ups, has the potential to ‘transform the planet’s connection to the final frontier’. According to the NYT, India could also serve as a significant counterweight to China’s space endeavors.
The NYT article, titled ‘The Surprising Striver in the World’s Space Business,’ highlights India’s remarkable progress in the space race. It recalls India’s humble beginnings when, in 1963, the country, despite being economically disadvantaged, ventured into cutting-edge technology by launching its first rocket. With a bicycle as a means of transporting the rocket’s nose cone to the launchpad, India managed to place a small payload 124 miles above the Earth. However, today, India has firmly established itself as a formidable player in the space industry.
The article emphasises that India’s burgeoning space-tech start-up ecosystem, which now encompasses over 140 registered companies, has the potential to revolutionise the world’s engagement with outer space. The growth of these start-ups has been exponential, surging from a mere five at the start of the pandemic. Furthermore, these companies perceive a substantial market to cater to.
The report underscores India’s growing prominence as a scientific powerhouse. It references Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent state visit to Washington, during which the joint statement issued by both sides highlighted their commitment to exploring new frontiers in space cooperation across all sectors.
The NYT also acknowledges India’s progressive steps in opening up its space sector to private enterprise since June 2020, a move initiated by Prime Minister Modi. This decision has led to the establishment of a network of businesses in India, driven by original research and indigenous talent. Last year alone, these space start-ups attracted USD 120 million in new investments, with annual growth rates doubling or even tripling.
Describing India as a thriving hub of innovation and one of the most competitive launch sites globally, the article identifies space-tech start-ups as one of India’s most sought-after sectors for venture capital investors. The exponential growth of these start-ups, starting from just five at the beginning of the pandemic, serves as a testament to their promising trajectory.