ISSN (O) : 2584-1378


AUTHOR’S NAME : Priyanka Jain
UNIVERSITY - University of Delhi, Campus Law Center, Faculty of Law



As India celebrates its moon mission Chandrayaan 3 when ISRO Chandrayaan-3 lands on the moon on August 23,2023,and launch of its solar mission on September 02, 2023, India sits at a special place in the Space sector. Space is a region beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Space law is a body of rules encompassing space related activities. It deals with issues including freedom to explore outer space, launching satellites, use of technology, international cooperation, conduct of space activities. Space is explored to reveal the secrets of the Universe for common advantage, to inspire the world through discovery, to create the most unifying human endeavors , where everyone is away from Border restrictions. Space exploration helps in gaining a new perspective to study our Mother Earth and Solar system, the moon, the stars, asteroids, weather conditions, and atmospheric challenges. This Article discusses the space laws in India and the way forward to align the expectations of Indians towards development of scientific temperament towards space exploration.


International Space Law History and Development:

Even though the Wright Brothers of Ohio, the United States had been the first to make a powerful airplane in 1903, the United States was lagging behind Europe in Aviation during World War I. So Congress decided to establish NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) on March 3, 1915. Its enacting Bill was appended to the Naval Appropriation Bill of 1915. The Soviet Union launched World’s first Artificial Satellite Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. This caused fear in the mind of the United States again. Congress enacted the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. Which established NASA as a new civilian Space Agency. So, NACA was officially taken over by NASA on October 1, 1958.


U.S. Space laws have been codified in various Acts as follows:

  • National Aeronautics and Space Act, 1958;
  • The 1984 Commercial Space Launch Act;
  • The 1992 Land Remote Sensing Policy Act;
  • The 1998 Commercial Space Act;
  • The 2015 Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act;
  • The 2017 NASA Transition Authorization Act;
  • The 2022 NASA Authorization Act, Title VII of the CHIPS and Science Act;
  • FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act;

Here it is clearly visible that Space laws of the United States of America are quite developed and forceful.They were added and amended time to time to pace up with the changing situations, march of time, staying ahead of the rest of the world.


India’s Space hunt started by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai in 1962. Dr. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai is called Father of the Indian Space Program. Among other achievements, the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation was his biggest achievement. He persuaded the Government about the importance of the Space Programme after the launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1.


  • Space Activities Bill 2017 :This Bill was proposed to promote and regulate space activities by India in 2017 and pending before the Parliament. The Bill covers various elements of space goals, obligations both international and national, offences and punishments or liabilities. The Bill also paves way for the private sector for space exploration with the help of the Department of Space (DOS).
  • The Indian Space Policy 2023: In April 2023, The Indian Space Policy was given effect in order to facilitate private sector access to the space sector. It has democratised the space sector.It also fueled cross-border collaborations.



This Policy aims to bring reforms in the space domain in 2020, to enhance participation of Non- Government Entity (NGE). Further, the Government also endeavours to regularize space activities by various players, to create a thriving space ecosystem.


This Policy seeks to augment space capabilities to foster commercial presence in space as a forerunner of technological enhancements in pursuance of international relations.

Government commences a holistic perspective by encouraging the private sector in space activities.

To secure this end the Government focus on

  • Advanced Research and Development in Space.
  • To sustain and augment the space program.
  • Create a regulatory mechanism through IN-SPACe to provide a level playing field to Non- Government Entities.
  • Providing space-related education, and to nurture scientific temperament.

The Indian Space Policy 2023, shows a roadmap for development and furtherance of Space Technology in India. However, to make space for hassle free and effective execution, certain considerations need attention. While the policy encompasses a crucial role for IN-SPACE, it is important to lay down requisite turn-around time for its coming into being and to formulate  a regulatory mechanism without which it seems like  a lion without teeth. The Indian Space Policy 2023 should also actively review and revisit its execution time to time through an expert committee. It shouldn’t be limited to mere laying guidelines.

New Space India Limited:

NSIL was established in the year 2019 as a Public Sector Undertaking under Department of Space (DOS) has been made responsible for commercializing space technologies on sound commercial principles.

The major role of New Space India Limited to commercially exploit the global space market.


The “Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Centre”. It was established in June, 2020 as an autonomous Government Organization to issue guidelines and procedures periodically and to promote ease of doing business.

Following are the roles and Responsibilities:

N-SPACe has been established as an autonomous body, under DOS, as a single window nodal agency for enabling and regulating space activities and usage of ISRO facilities by Non-Government Private Entities. 


It expands to the Indian Space Research Organisation. As the national Space Agency it will focus on Research and Development of new technologies relating to space and enrich human understanding towards outer space.

Department of Space:

It shall be the nodal department of implementation of Indian Space Policy 2023.

Satcom Policy 2012 and Norms, Guidelines and Procedures:

On January 12, 2000, the Union Cabinet gave green signal to guidelines, norms, and procedure of Satcom Policy. Union allowed “registered Indian companies” with up to 74% foreign investment to establish and operate satellite systems, to allow for the first time the private sector to put foot forward in the satellite-based communication services sector. It was a launching pad to boost services of the private sector in outer space.

Remote Sensing Data Policy (RSDP) 2011:

Followings were the highlights of the Remote Sensing Data Policy:

  • To operate a remote sensing Satellite from India a license of the Government of India is required.
  • In the interest of national security and/or foreign policies, the Government reserves the right to impose control over imaging tasks.
  • National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of ISRO/DOS is vested with the authority to hold and outsource all remote sensing data in India even for foreign satellites.
  • NRSC and/or Antrix Corporations Limited shall be competent to enter into agreements with foreign satellites operator(s).
  • Antrix Corporations Limited also vested with the authority to receive applications for grant of license for acquisition/distribution of IRS data in foreign jurisdiction.
  • Remote Sensing Data Policy also prescribes guidelines as follows:
  • All data of resolution up to 1 m shall be distributed on request or non-discrimination.
  • All data of resolution more than 1 m shall be screened and cleared prior to distribution.
  • However, Government users like ministers, officers can avail it even without screening or clearance.


Global Space economy is approximately $447 bn, and India’s share is merely 2%. So IN-SPACe has set a target to increase it by 8% in a decade by encouraging private players, especially the bigger ones.To boost confidence of private stakeholders,orentities”Indian Space Research Organisation” aims at setting up its first Space Station by year 2035. Indian Space Research Organisation has charted out its essential strategies till year 2047. To enable these objectives it requires Artificial Intelligence, propulsion systems. Artificial intelligence includes robots, humanoids, and space-crafts.To encourage the participation of the private sector,the Government may offer certain tax-exemptions, grants or incentives.


As we can see India has Policies but not properly codified laws. Policies are only guiding light in the pursuit of Space Activities.. They have no binding force. So there should be well-researched codified Acts to march with the advancement in Science and Technology.As it is conspicuous that the space sector is ever-evolving and needs machinery that has long life. So,a long time commitment is also needed from both the parties: Government and Private Sector. It can be a challenge.Privatization also imposes concern of monopoly and misuse.The government should draw certain strict guidelines regulating the space activities of private players in both the commercial as well as the strategic part of the space sector, so that space technology is not exploited to suit someone’s selfish interests. The allocation of opportunities to private investors and foreign players needs to be carry out in a reasonable and non-arbitrary manner as per the golden triangle of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of IndiaIndian Space Policy 2023 put forth a demanding role for IN-SPACe but does not provide a time frame. Time is the essence of life. There is no schedule for IN-SPACe to establish a regulatory framework. IN-SPACe has been made a regulatory body but it has no legislative role. Its position is not clear. However, IN-SPACe has been seen as a platform for youth to showcase their prowess in space technology. It is also seen as providing fuel to space exploration and space tourism.Indian Space Policy 2023 should be made a clear document with a clear timeline both dead line and date of commencement. Government should come up with a guideline to grant a proper status to IN-SPACe like ISRO. Indian Space Policy 2023 should assure continuous enhancements and reforms in India’s Space Sector with timely preparation.Space Science is something that is not a cup of tea for many. Like Law, it is not incorporated as a main subject in school curriculum. It should be implemented as a school subject to develop better clarity and arouse the interest of young minds. It shouldn’t be restricted only to a chapter of a Science Book.It will nurture interest in Space Science to young minds. For Primary Classes it can be done through stories or animation about famous Space Scientists. From higher grades a specific program can be drawn through collaboration of teachers, P.HD Scholars, even students to chalk out modules along with field visits to Planetarium,Space Research Centers once in an academic year.Space Science is a blend of Physics, Mathematics, Geography, Environmental Science, So, it will help in building a strong foundation in this allied subjects also.Not every child learns by way of traditional methods some are quite curious, visual learners who learn silently in a visual manner. Space Science may add an empirical touch to traditional methods of teaching Science and Technology. Students can further participate in forwarding and sharing this knowledge by way of campaigning in their neighbourhood, by social media reels, to spread awareness about recent space campaigns to those who cannot access this information because of any personal challenges, to name a few, remoteness, weather conditions, financial reasons, poor internet coverage.Satcom Policy also needs to be reviewed.Almost two decades have passed, it is high time to rethink, review the SATCOM Policy, so that it is in consonance with today’s challenges as well as achievements. The revised policy should allow the private sector as per constitutional compliance, to allocate resources and   maximize potential.


Bringing it all together, India’s space program has become a Hallmark of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan”, throwing light on the India’s capability of self-reliance and development of scientific temperament. With achievements such as the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission and the upcoming solar mission Aditya L1, India continues to bag a significant position in the global space sector. The historical backdrop of space laws, both international and national, throws light on the evolution of regulatory frameworks to govern space exploration. The establishment of NASA in the United States and that of ISRO in India paved the way for redressing the challenges and opportunities of exploration of outer space. The Space Activities Bill 2017 and the Indian Space Policy 2023 augments India’s commitment to promote and regulate space related activities. The focus on involving non-government entities (NGE), encouraging the private sector to participate in Space Exploration, and establishing IN-SPACE suggest a borderless, full of togetherness and welcoming the ideas of the masses to secure this end. IN-SPACE, as an autonomous organization, has been vested with formulating guidelines, fostering ease of doing business.However, with the march of time and era of information, our country requires proper understanding and implementation of the Indian Space Policy 2023 through the help of academicians, Scientists and youth of our country. Chalking out proper time frame Time is crucial in ensuring the smooth and result-oriented functioning of the space sector, aligning with the broader vision of enhancing India’s space capabilities and fostering a thriving space ecosystem. As India continues its journey beyond stars, some special efforts are needed to make space science a wheel home for many viz. school students, and college students by drawing special courses for the study of space science. It will ensure the common benefit of a globalized world.


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