The new developments in space technology have been attracting private investors to the arena of space exploration. At this time, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is also trying to collaborate with private companies with the help of their new commercial arm NewSpace India Ltd. NewSpcae has issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) for manufacturing Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rockets. Similarly, other private organisations like SpaceX, Amazon and Virgin Galactic have been keen on exploring their options internationally.
In an interview to Republic, The Dean of School of Mathematical Sciences at NMIMS, Professor Mayank Vahia, spoke about the development of privatisation in the sector of space exploration. He said, “There was about a 20-year period with no space missions after the Apollo missions were conducted. After this time, Japan and other countries started their missions respectively. Private players coming in space have fundamentally changed the equation. Just like Antartica is owned by nobody, the great seas are owned by nobody even the Moon is owned by nobody, it is for the good of mankind. Also, there is a United Nations treaty where every country is bound by the regulations of not exploring the Moon for commercial purposes.”
Formerly at the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at TIFR, Mayank Vahia continued saying that, “The private players don't belong to one nation, they may be primarily situated in one country, but they are typically registered in multiple countries. So, these entities are not bound by the United Nations Convention and there is no provision as to what will happen if such private organisations explore the moon for commercial purposes. This whole situation has become a huge headache for international bodies. Now we can safely assume that countries like America will oppose any kind of treaties. This objection from America’s end will enable America-based companies to exploit Moon and especially given the current dispensation. So, we should be worrying about making sure that the Moon is a common resource of our entire world and it is used fairly by the countries that are not as advanced as America, Russia, China or India. Thus, the arrival of private agencies is both exciting and a challenge or threat to the world.”