India Challenges China in Global 447 Billion Dollar Space Economy


With the advancement of technology and development of systems, the space industry has become one of the most lucrative markets in the world. Aided by government initiatives, countries are vying for a share of the $447 billion space economy. India is no exception as the country is taking on China in the sector as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign, which focuses on positioning the economy as a leading destination for technology innovation.

Despite lagging behind China, with its 13.6% share of orbiting satellites compared to India’s 2.3%, the country is striving to make breakthroughs in the industry. This thirst for progress is showcased by the state-owned NewSpace India Ltd, which last month launched three dozen communications satellites from an island off India’s eastern coast for OneWeb. The move ultimately saved the UK satellite company’s attempt at creating a global broadband internet network in the skies and also established India’s ambition in the sector.

2025 estimates point towards a 600 billion dollar space industry, with demand for high-speed internet delivered from space has made launching satellites into orbit a prosperous business. However, with the war in Ukraine and China’s geopolitical issues, the latter two have become inaccessible to many potential customers. This time, companies have begun to look towards India, especially when considering the country’s close relationship with the US and its lower costs than other rivals.

The Indian government has incentivised the growth of the country’s space sector, by making the ISRO’s (Indian Space Research Organisation) facilities easily accessible to startups. NewSpace is at the forefront of these developments as the company’s achievements will hopefully see them become a “mainstream commercial launch provider”. Profit of 3 billion rupees in the last fiscal year and 52 international customers signifies their progress in the industry.

Beyond take-off, the success of Indian rockets remains to be seen. Not only do they lack the reliability of the US, Europe, Russia or China, but India also lags in numbers when it comes to launches. That being said, India sent an orbiter to Mars in 2013 at a 10th of the cost of a NASA probe that same year, showing their ability to compete with the big players.

In conclusion, India is making strides in the space industry despite its current position behind China. With government initiatives, investments from the private sector and the country’s reliable relationships, India could be well on its way to become a major player in the sector.