As the Indian Government has opened the space sector for private players, many startups are mulling to increase their research and development to take a lead in the market. Launching process and space exploration contribute only 10 % in the space economy, leaving the rest 90% of the space economy for private players to work on data analysis, ground equipment, and other services. Currently, there are 100 private companies working in space sector in the world. Let’s have a look at the recent government announcement and private space tech startups in India.
Crux of the Matter
The government has set up the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) to prompt the private players in the space sector, which will also help them grow and survive global competition. Going to be functional in a few months, IN-SPACe will look after a “friendly regulatory environment” for private space entrepreneurs. Now, private players will be allowed to access remote sensing data except for strategic remote sensing data. Moreover, private companies will be allowed to use ISRO facilities. Private players can start applying; their application will be accepted and studied on a case by case basis. ISRO will continue to focus on space exploration, innovation, and research and development.
Indian Space Tech Startups
Srinath Ravichandra and Moin SPM founded Agnikul Cosmos in 2016 in Chennai. It designs & manufactures small launching vehicles. The firm uses 3D printers to develop cryogenic rocket propulsion. Agnikul Cosmos is focusing on the market of launching satellites up to 100 kgs. Pi Ventures, Speciale Invest, etc have invested in the company.
Naga Bharath Daka, Pawan Kumar, and Chandana founded Skyroot aerospace in 2018 in Hyderabad. The company designs and makes space launch vehicles. It has developed Vikram series rockets with an aim to carry rockets weighing 250-700 kgs and others to low-earth orbits. Vikram rockets can be assembled and launched within 24 hours. Moreover, the company is working on making space airlifts cheaper. The company’s first launch is expected in 2021 at 1/3rd the normal cost. So far, it has raised $4.3 mn from Mukesh Bansal, Ankit Nagori, Solar Industries, and Vedanshu Investments.
Rohan M Ganapathy, Vivek Murugesan, Saagar Malaichamy, and Yashas Karanam founded Bellatrix aerospace in 2015 in Bengaluru. This firm makes propulsion systems for satellites and has started rocket designing to maneuver satellites via small engines. It has made an electric propulsion system that runs on water and is more eco-friendly than the one running on hydrazine fuel. It has also developed green fuel that is 30% more efficient.
Kshitij Khandelwal and Awais Ahmed, students of BITS Pilani started Pixxel in 2018. Pixxel is planning to set up a constellation of 30 satellites in low-earth orbit to develop high-frequency earth imaging capabilities. Its first microsatellite – a 15 kg cube – will be launched to low-earth orbit in November 2020. It has raised $681,000 from Techstars Starbust, GrowX, etc.
Blue Sky Analytics
Abhilasha and Kshitij Purwar founded Blue Sky Analytics in 2018. This Gurugram based company is planning to build a platform to provide real-time updates on air and water quality across India through an app. It has also launched BreeZo, an AQ data visualization platform.
- Vikram Sarabhai was an Indian physicist and astronomer who initiated space research in India. He is internationally regarded as the Father of the Indian Space Program.
- A P J Abdul Kalam was an Indian aerospace scientist and politician who served as the 11th President of India. He is known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.
- The Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) is an Indian spaceport established on 21 November 1963, operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation. It is currently used by ISRO for launching sounding rockets.