Author Topic: Space Activities Bill, 2017  (Read 1497 times)

Offline sanman

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Space Activities Bill, 2017
« on: 11/21/2017 08:20 PM »
Govt unveils draft of law to regulate space sector:

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/govt-unveils-draft-of-law-to-regulate-space-sector/article20629386.ece

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First bid in 50 years seeks to define & regulate activities as new players enter

The draft of the country’s first Space Law, unveiled on Tuesday, stipulates licences for all space-related players and activities. The draft also sets out penalties of ₹1 crore and above and jail terms for violations.

The proposed Space Activities Bill, 2017 that will go before Parliament, also seeks to keep the government out of any liability arising out of harm that these commercial activities may cause — to people, environment, other countries or outer space.

So far, the national space agency Indian Space Research Organisation’s major works have related to satellites, launchers and applications. These were governed by the Satellite Communication Policy, 2000; the Remote Sensing Data Policy, 2011; and international treaty obligations on outer space activities as mandated by the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space or UNCOPUOS.

New body proposed

The draft Bill defines objects, people and geography that will come under the future law. While all persons or entities engaged in space will now need a licence, the government will form a new authorised body for this purpose.

The Centre will keep a registry of all space objects.

The draft has been posted on the website of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Stakeholders have a month to send in their comments, according to a note signed by G. Ravi Shankar, Under Secretary in the Department of Space.

Explaining the need for a Space Law now, the notification says increasing applications of Space-based solutions have meant an increased participation of private sector industry and startups. “Commercial opportunities in space activities and services, nationally and internationally, demand a higher order of participation by private sector agencies. This situation demands a necessary legal environment for orderly performance and growth of space sector,” it said.

A.S. Kiran Kumar, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, stated at an industry event in Delhi on Monday that the country needed to at least double the number of its 42 functional satellites in order to meet national demands. ISRO has started the process of selecting industry teams to quickly build spacecraft and launch vehicles for it in the next two to three years. It also launches many foreign spacecraft for a fee on the PSLV launcher.

Multiple players

According to a senior DoS official who requested not to be named, “Until now, ISRO being the only player never felt the need for a separate law. Now, many Indian and foreign companies are setting up shops here as well as 20-odd Indian startups. It is very important now that to have a regulatory mechanism and law to govern these activities.”

The draft clearly defines space players, licences, violations, the official said, adding that detailed specific guidelines may come in later for each activity in consultation with stakeholders and industry bodies. The draft law is available at:

https://www.isro.gov.in/update/21-nov-2017/seeking-comments-draft-space-activities-bill-2017-stake-holders-public-regarding

Go to that link at the end to see the first draft of the new "Space Activities Bill, 2017"  :D

Offline sanman

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Re: Space Activities Bill, 2017
« Reply #1 on: 11/21/2017 08:21 PM »
The first draft of "Space Activities Bill, 2017" is now available on ISRO's website:

https://www.isro.gov.in/update/21-nov-2017/seeking-comments-draft-space-activities-bill-2017-stake-holders-public-regarding


I was just reading it, and gave my small nitpick feedback:


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Subject: Space Activities Bill, 2017: Comments & Suggestions
To: [email protected]

Dear Sirs,

Section 2 G defines "space object" as "any object launched or intended to
be launched, on an orbital trajectory around the earth or to a destination
beyond the earth orbit;"

This however makes no explicit mention of *sub-orbital* trajectories. It
seems entirely possible that sub-orbital launches and payloads meant for
them could comprise a legitimate portion of market demand. There are for
example payloads/experiments which may only require a short-duration
exposure to zero-G environment of space, for which a simple sub-orbital
trajectory may be economical and preferable to an orbital one.

Perhaps you may wish to extend your terms of reference and definitions to
include "near-space object"?


Regards,


I dunno, perhaps it was nitpickery, but I feel like regulation of commercial space activities should also explicitly cover sub-orbital launches along with orbital ones. Agree or disagree?

Offline sanman

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Offline Lar

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Re: Space Activities Bill, 2017
« Reply #3 on: 11/23/2017 03:45 PM »
Why does *everything* need a license by a new body set up for this purpose? Isn't that just an extension of the License Raj that has held India back for decades now?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline sanman

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Re: Space Activities Bill, 2017
« Reply #4 on: 11/23/2017 11:23 PM »
Why does *everything* need a license by a new body set up for this purpose? Isn't that just an extension of the License Raj that has held India back for decades now?

Perhaps because various space-related technologies and activities overlap with areas sensitive to national & international security, and can potentially be dangerous in the wrong hands. That's partly why I felt it was important to extend their definition beyond just orbital to also include sub-orbital stuff too. It's also why I think private development of certain technologies is best restricted to designated space technology parks or zones where that intellectual property can be kept safe, rather than being done just any old place inside the country. Better to have appropriate controls in place than for some negative incident to occur that triggers some abrupt crackdown by the govt and casts a pall over the entire industry. In India, things have a way of mushrooming in non-linear chaotic ways very quickly.

Better safe, than sorry.
« Last Edit: 11/24/2017 12:50 AM by sanman »

Offline sanman

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Re: Space Activities Bill, 2017
« Reply #5 on: 11/25/2017 06:29 PM »
Here are some further views and critiques of the Space Activities Bill:


http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/draft-space-law-has-less-than-meets-the-eye/article20668952.ece


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Space entrepreneur and space law expert Narayan Prasad described it as “a great start in the right direction” for a legislative framework for commercial space in India. However, the draft seems to focus more on taking a stand towards India’s international obligations and keeping control over the activities of non-governmental and private sector actors rather than catalysing commercial space. The U.S. and Luxembourg, for example, provide a national legislative framework [even] for activities such as space mining and ownership.”

Offline sanman

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Re: Space Activities Bill, 2017
« Reply #6 on: 11/28/2017 10:06 PM »

Offline sanman

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Re: Space Activities Bill, 2017
« Reply #7 on: 12/05/2017 08:52 AM »
Why does *everything* need a license by a new body set up for this purpose? Isn't that just an extension of the License Raj that has held India back for decades now?

This article seems to make a similar comment:

https://www.dailyo.in/lite/technology/isro-antrix-space-exploration-law-government/story/1/20946.html

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It is proposed that all powers to licence private players to launch and operate "space objects" will rest with the Union government (read DoS). And these powers will be quite sweeping. DoS will not only have powers to “grant, transfer, vary, suspend or terminate licence” but also have powers to inspect books of accounts and other documents of licensees and seek all information about partners, directors, etc.

This is particularly worrying because "space activity" under this proposed law not only covers launch of satellites but also “use of space objects” as well as “operation, guidance and entry of space object into and from outer space and all functions for performing the said activities.” This would technically mean even data companies handling satellite imagery or universities operating ground facilities for their microsatellites may also need a licence. If this is going to be so, it is a recipe for a new "licence raj".

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