NEW DELHI, Feb 22 (Reuters) - India on Wednesday said it will allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the manufacture of satellite systems without any prior approval and eased the rules for launch vehicles, aiming for a greater share of the global space market. Before the policy change, such investments were allowed but needed government approvals that would sometimes mean months of waiting.

Below are some of the changes India made.

Three categories

India divided its space sector into three broad categories for the purpose of investments: companies that make rockets that launch satellites, those that make satellites and companies that make the parts for manufacturing satellites.

Manufacturing of components for satellites

It allowed 100% foreign investments through the so-called automatic route, which means no government approval is required for any investments in the category. This will lead to greater access to technology for critical communication systems such as transponders, antennas and power systems.

Satellite manufacturing and operations

India allowed 74% overseas investment without approval from the government in satellite manufacturing and its operations. This would open up easy entry for key players in the sector such as Elon Musk's SpaceX, Maxar, Viasat, Intelsat and Airbus. Experts said for commercialisation, satellite manufacturing is the most lucrative area, with more viable partnerships. Companies will need government approval to increase its equity beyond the 74% stake in the operations.

Launch vehicles, associated systems

The government will allow 49% FDI under the automatic route to build rockets and its parts. The policy could help the country gain interest from the likes of United Launch Alliance, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and SpaceX. Beyond 49% the foreign investor will have to seek government approval. (Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Nivedita Bhattacharjee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)