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Space companies want govt to implement DPI for Earth observation

Space startups such as GalaxEye Space, Dhruva Space and Pixxel have called on the government to implement a digital public infrastructure (DPI) for earth observation-based geospatial analytics. The Indian Space Association (ISpA) has sent a representation to the government making a similar pitch, saying it will open new horizons for India’s booming space sector.

The government must commit towards procuring and integrating these solutions, according to the space companies, since space technologies find widespread applications across areas such as agriculture, disaster management, infrastructure planning and urban development.

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“ISpA proposes setting up a space technology infrastructure initiative that provides open access to satellite data archives, ground station networks, cloud computing resources, simulation tools, geospatial databases and navigation APIs (making use of NavIC) that emerging space startups can leverage to quickly build applications,” Lt Gen AK Bhatt (Retd), director general, ISpA, told ET.

Frameworks for sharing infrastructure like rocket test facilities among industry players will encourage collaboration, he said.

Suyash Singh, cofounder, GalaxEye Space, said creating such DPI will open up possibilities for various applications in the commercial sector. “However, it’s essential to consider the diverse sensor data needed. We should also explore the development of satellite capabilities, particularly with advanced options like multi-sensor satellites,” he said.

Dhruva Space, being a full-stack space company, believes such DPI will add considerably to earth observation and geospatial markets, nationally and globally, said Colonel Rajneesh Ralli, vice president, growth operations.

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“However, a clear framework is required to ensure synergy between government and industry. We continue to see increasing demand for satellites and satellite-enabled services to improve everyday life,” he said.

Pixxel founder Awais Ahmed said ISpA’s proposal for creating digital public infrastructure for earth observation data is a step towards democratising space technology.

“By offering access to satellite data archives, cloud computing resources and other critical tools, the barriers for emerging space startups will be significantly lowered, fostering innovation and collaboration in the sector,” he said.

By integrating these technologies into governance and public service delivery, the government can ensure the widespread adoption of these innovations, Ahmed said.

Bhatt said while India’s private space industry is rapidly developing innovative solutions, the government remains the most critical customer and enabler for large-scale adoption of these innovations in governance and public service delivery by integrating with, for example, the Gati Shakti programme.


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