India's space journey will take a new turn today as the country's ambitious Moon mission, Chandrayaan-3, makes its landing on the lunar surface. As per India’s space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Chandrayaan-3 is going to soft land on the Moon around 18:04 Hrs IST today after the Lander Module activates the throttleable engines for powered descent.

Chandrayaan-3's success is crucial for the current government, especially since the previous moon project, Chandrayaan-2, had failed after it crash-landed in 2019. Under the Modi government, the budget allocation for the space sector has increased manifold. Data shows India's space sector budget has increased 123% from ₹5,615 crore in 2013-14 to ₹12,543 crore in FY 2023-24.

The government has earned more than ₹3,300 crore by launching 389 foreign satellites in the past nine years. Of the total 424 foreign satellites launched by the country, 389 were launched after 2014, shows the government data. Record 104 satellites launched aboard PSLV-C3 101 belonged to international customers.

India's futuristic space collaborations include the US-based space agency NASA-led Artemis Accord, which aims for peaceful moon exploration. The data to be shared by ISRO Chandrayaan-3 is also expected to support the Artemis human landing.

Apart from this, India has collaborated with NASA on developing NISAR Satellite, with a budget of ₹470 crore. This is the first joint hardware development between the two agencies for an earth-observing mission.

Besides, the Indian Space Policy – 2023, which has been approved and released in the public domain, opens up the sector for enhanced participation of non-government entities (NGEs) or the private sector across the entire value chain of space activities. The policy envisages ISRO to work on new technologies, exploration missions, human spaceflight programs, and national prerogatives, while promoting technology transfer and research innovations in the space sector.

The government has also set up the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) as a 'single-window agency' for the promotion and authorisation of space activities. The budget allocations for IN-SPACe were raised to ₹95 crore in FY23 from ₹33 crore in FY22 and Rs 10 crore in FY22.

The Centre's LIGO-India project has been approved at an estimated cost of ₹2,600 crore, with department of atomic energy as the lead agency. After completion of the project, the LIGO-India will be operated as a national facility for detecting gravitation waves and research in related areas of astronomy.

Currently, FDI in the space sector is permitted under “Satellites – Establishment and Operations” via the government route up to 100%. To encourage the private sector to more participate in the space sector activities, the Centre’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is also reviewing the sectoral guidelines related to space in the FDI policy.

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