Discover 5 Indian spacetech startups on International Astronomy Day
The private space sector in India has blasted off and now is home to more than 100 startups. On International Astronomy Day, let's look at the top 5 Indian aerospace firms.
Thanks to the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, India's space industry has garnered global attention. And, basking in the glory are Indian startups in the sector.
On World Astronomy Day, here's a look at India's top startups in the space industry.
Rise of Indian space-tech startups
Only a few years back, India's space economy was $9.6 billion in 2020 but now it is expected to reach $13 billion by 2025, according to a report released by Indian Space Association (ISpA) and Ernst and Young. Thanks to emerging space-tech startups in India and supporting government frameworks such as the Indian Space Policy, the space sector has gotten bigger.
In fact, according to EY, India is home to more than space-tech startups.
5 Promising space-tech startups in India
Pixxel, founded in 2019 by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, is a space-tech startup based in Hyderabad. It specialises in developing hyperspectral Earth-imaging satellites, which are a collection of high-resolution images.
This remote-sensing technology on Pixxel satellites enables us to see Earth's surface in great detail which helps to understand and monitor water and air quality, soil health, and much more. Pixxel collects this vital information to provide real-time data and analytics to help industries make better decisions or planning.
In 2022, Pixxel launched their first hyperspectral satellite named "Shakuntala" which was carried by an Elon Musk-owned, SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket. The startup has received funding from Google, Techstars, Omnivore VC, Radical Ventures, etc.
Agnikul Cosmos is a private aerospace startup, based on the National Center for Combustion R&D at IIT-Madras. Founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran and Moin SPM aims to make affordable and customisable space vehicles.
This aerospace firm primarily focuses on building and launching orbital-class rockets, especially for micro and nanosatellites. Currently, Agnikul Cosmos is developing a completely 3D-printed satellite. In 2022, it set up India’s first-ever launch pad in Sriharikota.
Altogether, it has raised a total of $34.5 million from Mayfield Fund, and LionRock Capital. CIIE, Globevestor, and many more.
Headquartered in Telangana, Skyroot Aerospace is a private aerospace manufacturer and commercial launch service provider startup in India. This firm was started by former engineers and scientists from ISRO, Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka.
Right now, Skyroot Aerospace is working to develop and launch the Vikram series. The Vikram I, II, and III are capable of carrying payloads from 200 kg to 700 kg into low Earth orbit (LEO) and sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).
This firm also won the National Startup Awards 2020. Moreover, in 2022, Skyroot Aerospace secured $51 million in Series C funding led by GIC.
Bellatrix Aerospace is a private Banglore-based aerospace manufacturer company. It was founded by Rohan Ganapathy, Nuthan Prasanna, and Yashas Karanam back in 2015. This startup is known for developing innovative thrusters and got an order from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Initially, the startup was planning to develop a satellite launch vehicle into low Earth orbit (LEO) named "Chetak" in 2023. However, Bellatrix Aerospace announced that they have discounted working on Chetak on X (formerly Twitter).
Despite changing their focus, Bellatrix Aerospace secured $8 million in Series A funding in 2022. Additionally, it signed a contract with the Karnataka government to set up a $76 million factory to make eco-friendly propulsion technologies for satellites in Bangalore.
Dhruva Space, founded by Sanjay Srikanth Nekkanti in 2012, is a private aerospace startup in India. This Hyderabad-based firm makes small satellite platforms for commercial, governmental and academic markets.
According to the firm, it provides full-stack space engineering solutions. Its services also include satellite launching, development and ground station solutions. This startup also won in Telangana State Industrial Awards 2022 and received the “Best Startup – Silver” award.
Furthermore, Dhruva Space was invited to the Dubai Expo in 2020 by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). In 2021, it raised Rs 22 crore led by IAN Fund and Blue Ashva Capital.