Home Articles What are the various space policies

What are the various space policies

The capacity to look at the Earth every single day impacts a lot of businesses. To enable the space industry become a better contributor, the major players world over are working towards creating stronger policies, and the not so big players are eagerly joining the bandwagon.

Space data and services have become an indispensable part of daily lives. The overall international space context is changing fast: competition is increasing; new entrants are bringing challenges and new ambitions in space; space activities are becoming increasingly commercial with greater private sector involvement; and major technological shifts are disrupting traditional industrial and business models in the sector, reducing the cost of accessing and using space. To keep pace in this changing scenario and excel in new space ventures, countries world over are modifying their space policies and strategies; the goal remains more or less same for all: to be a leader in Space.

The American space policy – Always ready for change

The Trump administration has been taking significant steps to reorient the American space policy. On June 30, 2017, US President Donald Trump revived the National Space Council for the first time in 24 years. Then on December 11, 2017, he signed the Space Policy Directive – 1, which calls on NASA to focus on the human exploration of Mars and other parts of the solar system.

US President Donald Trump signs the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017

The policy aims to more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward human exploration of Mars.

However, the administration has totally shifted its focus from earth observation. Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget intends to cut four NASA Earth science missions. These include the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite; the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) experiment, the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder and the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR).

On April 16, 2018 Vice President Mike Pence also announced a new space traffic management that gave the Commerce Department, and not the FAA, the responsibility for providing space situational awareness data to satellite operators.

This new policy directs the Department of Commerce to provide a basic level of space situational awareness for public and private use. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an increased budget to the Federal Aviation Administration office that licenses commercial launches. For the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation or AST the Bill provides $24.981 million. That is an increase of nearly $2.4 million over what AST received in fiscal year 2018, and $3.4 million above the administration’s request. The House offered $24.917 million for AST in a bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee May 23.

Taking things further, the Trump administration is all set to unveil the new National Space Strategy. On March 23, 2018, the administration released a brief of the same. The new strategy prioritizes American interests first and foremost. As per the strategy, the United States will partner with the commercial sector to ensure that American companies remain world leaders in space technology.

Also the House Science, Space and Technology Committee has adopted Chairman Lamar Smith’s American Space SAFE Management Act , which would transfer key responsibilities for space traffic management from the Pentagon to the Commerce Department.
Donald Trump has also recently directed the Pentagon to create a special ‘Space Force’ as an independent branch of the US military to ensure the safety of US spacecraft and astronauts. The concern is that such a step could ignite an arms race in outer space.

Also Read: Commercial space to enjoy larger role with NASA under Trump

How is EU coping up?

In October 2016, the European Union’s executive commission unveiled a new space strategy, the focus of which is to use public investment to stimulate the creation of space start-ups. The U.K. plans to become a haven for space start-ups from all over the world as it aims to grow its space industry to control 10% of the global market by 2030.
Space in EU primarily means Galileo and Copernicus. Galileo is the European Union’s Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS), sometimes called the ’European GPS‘. Copernicus is the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme, looking at our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of all European citizens.

Mission Control Room of ESA at ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany.

The European Commission aims to build a sustainable space economy. The new strategy specifically mentions the Investment Plan for Europe and an upcoming vehicle called the Venture Capital Fund of Funds as sources of financial support for space ventures. The major beneficiaries of the commission’s space budget of 12 billion euros ($13.5 billion) between 2014 and 2020 will be the 30 satellites that the EU plans to launch in the coming decade for the Galileo navigation and Copernicus environment-monitoring programs.
Additionally, the NewSpace strategy aims to develop a comprehensive EU Space Situational Awareness Service to protect critical space infrastructure from space debris, space weather and cyberattacks.

The Commission has also restated its support for a GovSatCom program that in principle would collate the military satellite telecommunications requirements of EU nations.
The new space strategy clearly indicates Europe’s eagerness to excel in new space ventures. Many member countries of the EU have their own space agencies with France and Germany being the two biggest players.

UK — All geared up to embrace developments

Brexit pushes UK to strengthen its own standing in space. Consequently, the UK government is seen to be making more efforts to create a regulatory framework for the expansion of commercial space activities and the development of a UK space port. It has now drafted The Space Industry Bill, which intends to cover both orbital and sub-orbital activities, and horizontal and vertical launches carried out in the UK.

The Space Industry Bill is aimed to enable the first commercial space launch from UK soil. The passing of the Bill indicates that British businesses will soon be able to compete in the commercial space race using UK spaceports. UK is already a global hub for satellite manufacturing, operation and application development.

With one in four of all telecom satellites substantially built in Britain and UK businesses at the forefront of hypersonic flight technology, through its Industrial Strategy, the government is working with the industry to increase its global share of the space sector from 6.5% to 10% by 2030.

If UK can build its own spaceports, it will also be able to tap into the rapidly expanding launch market — worth an estimated £10 billion over the next decade. Satellite services already support more than £250 billion of GDP in the wider UK economy as well as products and services we all rely on.

Currently, UK firms rely on a limited supply of launches in other countries which leaves them vulnerable to launch delays. The Space Industry Bill will help to increase the supply of launch services closer to home, and capture a share of growing global launch demand. This will open up the UK to new frontiers, transforming the way they live, and establishing than as a space flight leader.

Russia takes the leap through its 10-year space strategy

Though it is still a far cry from its glorious past, Russia’s intent to create a mark in new space ventures is clear from its approval of the 10-year space program worth 1.406 trillion rubles ($20.5 billion). The space strategy is known as the Federal Space Program 2016-2025.

As per the new strategy, Roskosmos has streamlined its large and disparate fleet of launch vehicles from eight to just two families: Soyuz and Angara. Only six variations of these two types of rockets will remain instead of current 12. Also, the Russian orbital assets will grow from the current 49 operational spacecraft to 73 by the end of the projected period in 2025.

The first priority for the program is communications and broadcasting satellites. According to the head of Roskosmos Igor Komarov, the Russian constellation of communications satellites will grow from 32 to 41 under the projected funding. The bandwidth of the communications channels carried through space was promised to increase 1.3 times and broadcasting capabilities would grow 3.3 times. In the meantime, Russia’s “eyes in the sky” and other remote-sensing satellites will multiply from eight to 23 during the same period.

In the field of human space flight, the Kremlin still promises to complete the assembly of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, which has remained unfinished since the turn of this century. Also, according to the approved strategy, Moscow still remains committed to shifting human space launches from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, to the new spaceport in Vostochny in the Russian Far East. Such a move would require a new launch pad for the human-rated version of the Angara rocket. The new facility is promised to be ready in 2021.

Komarov promised to launch the unscrewed prototype of the Soyuz replacement in 2021 and to send the first crew to the ISS aboard the new ship in 2023. The Moon landing still remains the strategic goal of the Russian human space flight but with a tentative launch date in 2030, or five years beyond FKP-2025.

Still, Roskosmos pledged to go ahead with its robotic lunar probes, which include progressively more complex orbiting and landing missions. A pair of astrophysics research satellites also made it into the program. The Spektr-RG X-ray observatory and the Spektr-UF ultraviolet telescope are scheduled for launch in 2017 and 2021, respectively.
In case the Russian economy improves in the years to come, the space budget will grow accordingly. Banking on the better days ahead, FKP-2025 reserved an entitlement for an additional 115 billion rubles after 2022.

China is in no mood to lag behind

The Chinese government takes the space industry as an important part of the nation’s overall development strategy, and adheres to the principle of exploration and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes. Over the past 60 years of remarkable development since its space industry was established in 1956, China has made great achievements in this sphere, including the development of atomic and hydrogen bombs, missiles, man-made satellites, manned spaceflight and lunar probe. It has opened up a path of self-reliance and independent innovation, and has created the spirit of China’s space industry. It has opened up a path of self-reliance and independent innovation, and has created the spirit of China’s space industry.

Keeping in view the advancements in space technology, in December 2016, China released a white paper, titled “China’s Space Activities in 2016, detailing its plans to expand the “strength and size” of its space program. The nation plans to increase the estimated $6 billion per year it currently invests in space activities, in order to fund numerous proposed initiatives. The plan outlines a robotic lunar program made up of several missions.

In addition, China’s BeiDou navigation system is on course to provide global coverage using 35 satellites by 2020. The navigation system will complement the marine and land trade routes initiative of the Chinese government’s ‘One Belt, One Road’, covering most of the globe with heavy investment on the routes and associated industries. Most member countries of the route, and developing economies, will easily adapt to the BeiDou system and other Chinese space initiatives. The whitepaper mentions in ‘Key areas for future cooperation’; ‘Construction of the Belt and Road Initiative Space Information Corridor, including earth observation, communications and broadcasting, navigation and positioning, and other types of satellite-related development; ground and application system construction; and application product development’.

The ‘Space Information Corridor’ is a broad term for a bouquet of potential multidimensional services of variable magnitudes.

China is also looking towards the establishment of a permanent manned space station by 2022.

China also intends to have its own Space Law in 2020. China encourages and supports Chinese enterprises to participate in international commercial activities in the space field. It has exported satellites and made in-orbit delivery of Nigeria’s communications satellite, Venezuela’s remote-sensing satellite-1, Bolivia’s communications satellite, Laos’ communications satellite-1 and Belarus’ communications satellite-1. In addition, it provided commercial launch service for Turkey’s Gokturk-2 earth observation satellite, and when launching its own satellites took on small satellites for Ecuador, Argentina, Poland, Luxembourg and other countries. It has also provided business services concerning space information. In the next five years China will, with a more active and open attitude, conduct extensive international exchanges and cooperation.

Is India ready to adopt a broader approach?

In case of India, everything related to space is governed by ISRO. Be it the Satcom policy, 1997 or the Remote sensing policy, 2011. The fundamental aim of the Satcom Policy Framework for Satellite Communications in India approved by the Cabinet is to develop a healthy and thriving communications satellite and ground equipment industry as well as satellite communications service industry in India. Also, use and further development of the capabilities built in India in the area of satellites, launch vehicles and ground equipment design and sustaining these capabilities is an equally important aim. Encouraging the private sector investment in the space industry in India and attracting foreign investments in this area are other specific goals.

Recognizing that Remote Sensing data provides much essential and critical
information, which is an input for developmental activities at different levels, and is also of benefit to society, the government has adopted the Remote Sensing Data Policy (RSDP) -2011 containing modalities for managing and/ or permitting the acquisition/dissemination of remote sensing data in support of developmental activities.
To make effective use of the advancements in space technology for citizens’ benefit, the country needs to encourage both the public and private sectors to participate in the space program. With this aim, India is drafting a new Space bill. The new Bill encourages the participation of non-governmental/private sector agencies in space activities in India under the guidance and authorization of the government through the Department of Space.

The main aim of the draft is to open up the space for participation from other sectors. It may help to break the monopoly of ISRO in Space activities in India.

Also Read: ISRO space activities Bill seeks to open up space sector in India

Space development in Japan — governed by security concerns

On April 1, 2016, the Office of National Space Policy (ONSP) released the fourth Basic Plan (Basic Plan 4), which for the first time has made space policy an important part of Japanese security planning. Basic Plan 4 explicitly supports the goal of advancing the operational integration of space technologies and programs in service of US-Japan security alliance. The Plan recognizes space as a strategic domain for national security.
Basic Plan 4 also represents Japan’s first implementation policy that openly states that Japan must actively develop a national security space program with the military use of space in tune with the new National Security Strategy (NSS). In terms of core security components, the plan focuses on key space-based programs. Primarily these include: doubling the number of satellites in Japan’s information-gathering satellite (IGS) reconnaissance satellite constellation, developing a space-based maritime domain awareness capability, enhancing space situational awareness capabilities and linking Japan’s space assets in the service of US security strategy to support the allies’ deterrence capabilities.

The Basic Plan 4 is a welcoming change as Japan’s space policy has for long, almost 40 years stayed away from any involvement in national security. The new policy is designed to achieve a stronger alliance with US.

A new Canadian space strategy is on the way

As per the Canadian Space Policy Framework 2014, the Canadian Government is committed to ensure that Canada is a sought-after partner in the international space exploration missions that serve Canada’s national interests.

The policy framework clearly indicates that national sovereignty, security and prosperity are the key drivers of Canada’s activities in space. I

The Government focuses on supporting the domestic space industry in the innovation required to bring to market cutting-edge technologies. The Government looks to continue partnerships with international partners to pool data for mutual benefit and obtain services and technologies that would otherwise be unavailable. At the same time, effective export control and regulatory measures will continue to protect Canadian technologies and data from theft or from falling into the hands of hostile interests.
Canada is soon going to have a new space strategy. The Canadian government has recently announced an investment of more than $26.7-million in space technology through the Space Technology Development Program (STDP). The funds allocated in this round of the STDP included $3.4 million for space research and development by small businesses.

The capacity to look at Earth every single day impacts a lot of businesses. The world is gaining an understanding that the space industry is actually about life on Earth and businesses on Earth, and they can help in numerous ways. To enable the space industry become a better contributor, the major player’s world over are working towards creating stronger policies, and the not so big players are eagerly joining the bandwagon.

Not so big players are also gaining momentum

UAE — Gaining momentum
In 2016, UAE launched its national space policy. The Policy focuses towards expanding the utilization of space to protect and support vital sectors. It aims to achieve this by identifying the capabilities and competencies needed to support the space sector. The Policy seeks to promote space-related scientific programs and projects. This includes the planning and execution of both sole and cooperative space missions; the procurement and development of capabilities for space exploration and earth observation; the encouragement of scientific research and development of programs, which will strengthen and utilize the UAE’s space capabilities and technology. Along with providing national organizations guidance specific to their role and contribution to the space sector, the National Space Policy identifies fundamental success factors required for the policy’s successful execution.

Brazil — Prioritizing Space
The 1994 Brazilian National Policy for the Development of Space Activities set as a strategic goal the development of national space technology capabilities. The main current policy instrument is the National Programme of Space Activities 2012-2021 (PNAE 2012-2021). It identifies priority actions, investments needs and international cooperation possibilities. It also foresees a calendar of space missions and describes a set of specific projects. Some of the projects mention cooperation with international partners. The 2004 Technological Innovation Law provided conditions to build a more favorable environment for partnerships between universities, technological institutes and industry. There is legal framework in Brazil that provides for the participation of the private sector in space activities in Brazil, particularly in space launch from the Brazilian territory. For that purpose, foreign private companies must register as enterprises in Brazil, in accordance with the Brazilian national law.

Malaysia — Incessant efforts
Three arms in the Malaysian government deal with space technology- the National Space agency (ANGKASA), the Remote Sensing Agency (ARSM) and the Astronautics Technology Sdn Bhd (ATSB). On 14 July 2009, Malaysia launched RazakSAT, the first and only earth observation satellite on equatorial orbit. The RazakSAT was the second satellite into orbit joining its forerunner, the TiungSAT-1. RazakSat-2 Satellite Program is a continuation of the strategic satellite technology development in the aspect of infrastructure, human capital and industry’s capabilities enhancement.

Australia — Catching up fast
Australia’s first space agency is set to begin operations in July 2018 after securing $26 million in budget funding. The agency is located within the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and is expected to take the lead on civil space policy, including finding ways to use Australia’s technology and advanced manufacturing skills to become a world-leading developer of space-based technologies. It will also facilitate international space engagement, both in policy and industry forums, to build the networks needed to develop Australia’s space capability and ensure industry partners can access global supply chains. The space program has the potential to create a $12 billion space industry in Australia by 2030 and up to 20,000 jobs.

South Korea — Progressing aggressively
Korea now has a rapidly expanding space program with exploration aspirations. In order to develop it more efficiently the Korean government revised the Mid-and Long-Term National Space Development Basic Plan with a resolution of the National Science and Technology Council on 17 May 2005. Furthermore, the Korean government established “a new 1st Space Development Promotion Plan (2007-2016)” on June 2007 and formulated annually “the Space Development and Implementation Plan (January 2010 ~ February 2011). The Korean National Science and Technology Council issued a plan for a National Space Program. Korean space policy is based on the national space program and the following three-space. Acts. The Space Relationship Law of Korea is divided into three branches: (1) the Aerospace. Industry Development Promotion Act of 1987, (2) the Space Development Promotion Act of 2005 and the (3) Space Damage Compensation Act of 2007.

Africa — Two big players, others strolling close
Africa’s space programs now look much more promising. Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt and Algeria have taken renewed interests in their existing programs, and Kenya has joined the club and launched its own home-designed satellite, recently. Nigeria and South Africa have by far the most advanced space programs on the continent, and South Africa is set to host the world’s biggest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Also Read:

Who’s Buying all that Satellite Imagery?

On-orbit satellite servicing: Process, Benefits and Challenges