With the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 on August 23, India established itself as a major player in the global space economy. With only three nations having single-handedly succeeded in landing on the moon before, namely the United States, China, and Russia, this successful landing put India alongside them, lifting it from being a rising spacefaring nation and turning it into a global space power. On a similar landing time frame, Russia’s Luna 25 was also expected to land near the lunar south pole, but it failed to land successfully, but India’s Chandrayaan-3 did, making its landing even more notable. Due to this, Chandrayaan-3 has acquired historical significance and serves as a testament to India’s growing space exploration capabilities.

Key Implications:

Geopolitical Impact:

  • India’s successful landing on the Moon’s south pole with the Chandrayaan-3 mission provides valuable data and insights about the lunar surface at the south pole, and as NASA plans to return to the moon through its Artemis program, and with India being a part of NASA’s Artemis program, the data from the Chandrayaan-3 mission can potentially contribute to NASA’s Artemis program.
  • The current geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine has significantly impacted the Russian space economy as well as the global satellite launch market. As Russia was previously a key global launch service provider, its war with Ukraine has effectively damaged its international spaceflight cooperation, removing it as a potential launch provider from the global marketplace and hampering its ability to participate in international space ventures. This, coupled with India’s recent success, demonstrates India’s launch capabilities, and adds credibility to it, making it a key launch service provider for the global space industry. With Russia out of the picture, all the market participants who previously relied on Russian launch capabilities will now have to consider India as a capable launch service provider to launch their space assets.

Economic Impact:

  • With Chandrayaan-3’s success, India’s economy stands to benefit greatly from such a significant space sector accomplishment. This accomplishment will help India’s space sector grow and raise the country’s stature internationally in both lunar and space exploration. This can result in additional partnerships with other nations and organizations for various space initiatives.
  • This accomplishment will also serve as a significant catalyst for raising interest in India’s space economy and enabling expanding investments in the sector, which will improve technology development and provide more job opportunities in the Indian space sector, positively impacting the economy. A good illustration of this is the recent $15 million Series A fundraising for the earth observation and analytics startup SatSure based out of Bengaluru, India.

What Next:

  • The Chandrayaan-3 mission was carried out at a considerably lower cost compared to other successful lunar missions from other space-faring nations, giving the market image of being a cost-effective market participant/space faring nation. ISRO must continue this momentum to establish further deep space exploration missions in partnership with or by leveraging the private space sector of India.
  • India needs to focus on leveraging its exiting private space ecosystem in a similar fashion to what NASA does and help create a better synergy between ISRO and the Indian private space sector so that they have a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • India also needs to focus on better technology transfer, taking the recent technology transfer of SSLV into account. Currently, India seems to be only focused on developing launch capabilities in the private sector, but to develop a growing and thriving space ecosystem in India, they need to focus on developing a holistic approach for the Indian space economy.
  • The country also needs to focus on developing clear and better regulations and policies for the space sector in India, especially for the private space sector, both from a domestic and global standpoint, as this will help remove much of the ambiguity that currently surrounds the Indian space economy, allowing for better decision-making from market participants, increased funding opportunities from investors, and will help to enable the accelerated growth of the space ecosystem in India.
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