India's space agency plans to tap Start-Ups and the local industry to build technologies for its human space program

It unveiled a draft "humans in space policy 2021" that would look at facilitating participation of non-traditional players in undertaking space activities on Friday.

Based on feedback, the policy will be sent to the government for approval, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. The space agency was looking at separate policies for human space missions.

Last year, India opened up the space sector to private participation, allowing established firms such as Larsen & Toubro and Godrej Aerospace, besides Start-Ups such as Pixxel, Agnikul Cosmos, Skyroot Aerospace and Bellatrix Aerospace to build rockets and satellites for the local as well as global markets.

“We want to create competition and get multiple companies in the space sector that can grow as global leaders,” ISRO chairman K Sivan told ET during an interview in December.

“Space technology is costly. We want to make it viable for Indian industries and help them commercialise these technologies,” Sivan had said. “We want to make the technology transfer simple and low-cost”.

In the short term, ISRO is looking at human missions in low earth orbit and lay the foundation for a sustained Indian human space exploration program over the longer term.

ET reported in January last year that ISRO had begun preliminary work to send a human mission to the moon, as an extension of its human space flight mission Gaganyaan.

ISRO has set up a two-member team that would study the technologies needed for such a mission, which includes very powerful rockets, a capsule to carry humans and return them back safely to earth.

The team will also identify the gaps in technologies that ISRO needs to plug before undertaking such a mission. The country has already showcased a design of its space station that it plans to assemble by 2030.

The space agency is looking to build trained workforce in the academia as well as the private sector to undertake long term human space missions

It would focus on building technologies in regenerative life support systems, development of docking systems, inflatable habitats and extra vehicular activity suits.

The country is undertaking its first human space mission - Gaganyaan - by 2023. The first unmanned flight is expected later this year.