Research from Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, which surveyed 20,000 people in 11 countries worldwide, found that respondents from India were the most excited about space (46%) and felt the most “spiritually connected” to it (24%). In comparison, in the USA, just 39% were excited about space, falling to just 14% in Germany and 20% in the UK. Meanwhile, the global average of those who care about space was 83%, compared to India’s 97%.
This is despite the Indian government’s space spending at almost $2 billion USD in 2021 – a huge 28 times lower than the USA’s approximately $55 billion.
When it comes to India’s young people, the picture is even brighter – 47% of India’s Gen-Zs are excited about space, while a huge 25% want to work in the space sector, far ahead of Germany and UAE at 16%, and Japan at just 2%.
This is encouraging for the future of the space sector in India, which recently took the step of revising its approach to foreign direct investment, in a bid to increase its role within the global space economy. Inmarsat’s services are also available in India in partnership with BSNL.
Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat, said “As the space sector in India takes further great strides forward, it is heartening to see the high level of public support for the industry. Engagement and backing from the general population will be critical for securing additional investment. Passion and enthusiasm shown by India’s youth is the foundation for a strong future for the sector. Space underpins economic growth in so many parts of the economy and so, as India seeks and secures further growth, the industry will go hand-in-hand with this progress.”
In addition, when compared to equally ambitious China, the research speaks volumes. While China boasts the second highest public sector investment in space in the world, at more than $10 billion USD in 2021, its residents are less enthusiastic than those in India. Just 37% of people in China said that space excites them, compared to 46% in India, while 1 in 5 (20%) admitted not knowing much about space – compared to just 8% in India. That said, Chinese respondents were more hopeful (45%) than those in India (37%), suggesting their investment still holds out significant promise.
When it comes to the future, India’s respondents were optimistic about what space can provide for life on Earth with 30% feeling it will play a role in tackling climate change, with 42% seeing its importance for scientific research. Furthermore, 38% of respondents from India also thought space will help us discover new energy sources.
However, as more direct investment is brought into India’s space sector, there is still a need to ensure the country’s population fully understands the huge impact the space industry will have on their lives. Just 39% of India’s respondents said they associate space with satellites, compared to almost half (46%) globally – although India’s respondents were much more likely to associate space with communications and connectivity (14%) than globally (8%).