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Cabinet nod for Space Policy to increase private participation

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a new space policy to facilitate bigger participation of private companies besides green-lighting establishment of the world’s third gravity wave observatory in Maharashtra at the cost of Rs 2,600 crore.

The Indian Space Policy 2023 will provide a foundation for the private sector companies and startups to offer space-based services ranging from launching satellites to offering “ease of living” services to citizens, Union Science Minister Jitendra Singh said here.

The minister, however, did not provide details on the salient features of the new policy that was in the making for quite some time. It was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

Cleared by the Space Commission last year, the policy broadly would seek to harness space as a growth sector for the economy while attracting private investment, even as it promotes scientific breakthroughs and helps leapfrog developmental challenges. This may also pave the way for the long-awaited space law.

The clearance for the LIGO observatory came seven years after the Narendra Modi government gave an ‘in-principle’ approval to set up a gravity wave observatory for scientists to look at the universe from a new window that was opened just a few years ago.

Gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space-time produced by dramatic events in the universe, such as merging black holes, and predicted as a consequence of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity — carry information about their origins and the nature of gravity that can’t otherwise be obtained.

The first detection of a gravity wave in September 2015 provided scientists with a new approach to study the universe. The detection was made possible using the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO) at Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana. The LIGO-India project will establish the world’s third gravitational wave observatory at Hingoli in Maharashtra in collaboration with Caltech and MIT. The project will be piloted by the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science and Technology. PTI

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