Funding Space Programs : Why needed? – UPSC GS3

  • At ₹ 10,783 crore, the Department of Space (DoS) gets its biggest outlay to date and also the best yearly increase in five years — of 18.6%.
  • It also surpasses ₹10,000 crore — well above the ₹9,093 crore that was allocated to it last February.
  • Looking at only the outlays since 2013, the DoS sequentially received an increase of 40%, 6.6% 2%, 8%, 14% and now, 18.6% over the respective previous year.
  • This segment includes money towards centres involved in satellites, launch vehicles, propulsion, launch, post-launch satellite tracking; besides operational projects and those under development.
  • Under Space Sciences, ₹230 crore has been earmarked together for the proposed second Mars Orbiter Mission, a Venus mission plan, a space docking experiment, small satellites, X-ray polarimeter satellite called XpoSat, climate programme and sponsored research.
  • The INSAT, GSAT satellite systems got an outlay of ₹411.6 crore, but lower than last year’s ₹ 530 crore. This covers satellites, transponder lease and overseas launch contracts for heavy satellites.
  • ‘Space applications’, which include payload development, remote sensing and disaster management related support, received ₹1,746.25 (higher than last year’s ₹1,586.46.)
Global comparison
  • Indian Space Research Organisation ranks at no. 9 after China
  • For 2017-18, NASA led the stack at $19.5 billion; European Space Agency at $6.2 billion, Russia’s Roscosmos at $3.3 billion, French CNES, German DLR and Japan’s JAXA each topping $2 billion; and ISRO at $1.4 billion
Why is it important?
  • The satellites are the backbone of national and social activities such as communication, television and radio broadcasts, telephony, Internet connectivity, location and disaster relief support, military security, resource mapping, planning, decision making and to set up big infrastructure projects.
  • Around 100 departments have begun to intensively tap satellite-based information.

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