He also informed the Rajya Sabha that the government has not allowed external agencies to use Isro facilities and that only non-government Indian entities are being allowed to use these space facilities and provided technical support as applicable through space regulator IN-SPACe.
In his reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, the minister said all orbiting debris will have an impact on the sustainability of outer space and future missions, and therefore Isro has been carrying out several studies on impacts of growing space debris on space environment. Singh said that research and studies on the potential and emerging threats from space debris had been carried out by Isro and academia since the early 1990.
He also said that Isro System for Safe and Sustainable Operations Management was established in 2022 towards more focussed efforts to continue monitoring space objects posing collision threat, improve prediction of evolution of space debris environment and concerted activities to mitigate the risk posed by space debris.
The minister said that Isro has carried out 21 collision avoidance manoeuvres of Indian operational space assets last year to avoid collision from other space objects. To deal with the threat of very small debris objects that are too small to be tracked, spacecraft needed to be shielded against the impact risk. Spacecraft shielding-related studies and development are under progress in Isro to improve the protection for the upcoming missions.
Replying to a question raised in Rajya Sabha, Singh said Isro facilities that have been recently used by non-government entities are Skyroot Aerospace that used the sounding rocket launch complex at Sriharikota for its mission PRARAMBH and Agnikul Cosmos that used the vertical test facility at Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram for hot-testing of its engine Agnilet.
He said the government envisages enhanced participation of the private sector in conducting end-to-end activities in the space sector. Participation of the private sector, including academic institutions, startups and industries in end-to-end space activities, is expected to expand the national space economy, generate more employment opportunities and create a thriving space ecosystem and result in increased Indian share in the global space economy in the long term.