ORF Kalpana Chawla Space Policy Dialogue 2019 starts today – here's what to expect

The three-day event starting 29 April is important advocacy for a national space policy for India.

Every year, the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) gathers an impressive list of Indian and international experts at the Kalpana Chawla Space Policy Dialogue. The three-day event features a dozen different panels and a handful of talks from thought leaders in the space industry, law, and academia. All the conversations at the event will be centered around issues relevant to activities and challenges in space today.

The three-day event, starting 29 April 2019, is also (importantly) a tool to advocate for a national space policy for India. This, in the view of ORF, will go a long way in encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation in the security, civil and commercial applications of space research and technology.

The Dialogue gets its name from Dr Kalpana Chawla, the first woman astronaut of Indian-American descent to have flown in space. Dr Chawla's research marked the beginning of cross-cultural efforts to make life better on Earth and broaden what we understand about outer space.

"(Dr Chawla) was part of the growing trend of international cooperation in outer space between India and the United States... her tragic accident on board the Columbia Space Shuttle reminds us that the stakes are very high when it comes to space exploration but exemplifying the belief that the rewards outweigh the dangers," ORF says on their website.

Kalpana Chawla, an inspiration to future astronauts, women and Indians everywhere. Image: University of Texas Kalpana Chawla, an inspiration to future astronauts, women and Indians everywhere. Image: University of Texas

This year's annual dialogue highlights a couple of interesting themes, among others:

  1. Governance: How common goods like space can be collectively governed
  2. Cooperation: How powerful players in space can assist emerging ones
  3. Women in Space
  4. How to increase participation from the private sector
  5. Space security: Protecting a nation's space assets
  6. The small satellite business: Prospects, challenges, risks and all
  7. A Space Policy for India
  8. The ambitions and challenges of space exploration in India

On Day One of the event, the Chairman of ORF, Mr.Sunjoy Joshi, is expected to open the session with an address, followed by some opening words on India's collaboration with France by French Ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler, and a special address by B N Suresh from the Indian Space Research Organisation.

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