Indian Startups Inciting a New Wave of Space Revolution in the Country



The Indian space entrepreneurs' excitement and desire have not wavered despite the fact that the Indian Space Policy 2022 is still being formulated. The Indian space startup scene is now really taking off. A Telangana business called Skyroot recently received $51 million in financing. This happened not long after another company based out of Bangalore, Pixxel, received the then-highest fundraising of $ 25 million. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has served as the public face of the home country's space industry for the last ten years. The absence of companies in the space business has been felt for a time in a developing startup environment that already counts well more than 100 unicorns.

Despite costing only $74 million, ISRO's 2014 mission was a major success. The Indian space startup scene is now really taking off. A Telangana firm called Skyroot just received $51 million in financing. This happened not long after another Pixxel, situated in Bengaluru, received the then-highest fundraising of $25 million.

Due to its goal of using space technologies for the benefit of the public and the nation, ISRO is one of the six largest space organizations in the world. ISRO maintains one of the largest fleets of IRS remote sensing satellites and INSAT communication satellites to meet the rising need for speedy and trustworthy communication and earth observation, respectively. Among the few tools and products that ISRO creates for the nation are geographic information systems, telemedicine, mapping, and disaster management technologies. Indian space businesses have actively accepted the challenge of becoming global leaders, riding on the strong startup ecosystem and ISRO's favorable orientation towards the private sector. Due to its robust environment for innovation and industrial growth that could reach USD 1 trillion, India is expected to move towards new frontiers.

India Amidst $360 Billion Global Space Economy

According to recent information from the government to the Lok Sabha, the country currently has a two percent market share in the global space business. India has been successful in creating technologies on its own for navigation, meteorology, satellite communication, earth observation, and space science. The space agency has made progress in a number of areas, including space launch vehicles, space tourism, and space transportation. Inertia in the private sector is used by the government as an argument against major global private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic. Due to this inertia, domestic commercial firms are only able to participate as suppliers or vendors in several ISRO programs.

There have been intentional changes made to policy and practice to alter the status quo. Up to Rs 50 lakh has been given to six firms in a variety of fields, including geospatial data, augmented reality, virtual reality, and propulsion and reality. To solicit project proposals from entrepreneurs in the space industry as part of the Atal Innovation Mission, the flagship startup encourages initiative. Any startup is allowed to pursue robotics, augmented reality, virtual reality, and geospatial information propulsion under ANIC ARISE 1.0.

The government has also taken a number of actions to deregulate the private space industry by June 2020. The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (INSPACe) was established by the Department of Space (DoS) to incubate technology into NGPEs, or non-governmental private companies. As part of these reforms, New Space India Limited (NSIL), the country's first public sector undertaking in the space sector, and non-governmental and private organizations established the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) as the promoter and regulator of space activities in India.

A model driven by demand that uses the NSIL to aggregate client requirements and secure commitments has been established as a result of the advancements in the space sector. It was also revealed that the PSLV C-51 launched four student spacecraft and that ISRO facilities had tested five private satellites.

The Indian Space Association (ISpA) was established in 2021 to welcome entrepreneurs and the corporate sector into the nation's space economy. Several private companies, including Larsen & Toubro, Nelco (Tata Group), OneWeb, MapmyIndia, and Walchandnagar Industries, are among the founding members of this organization.

How is the Indian Private Space Industry Growing?

The emergence of international commercial players like SpaceX, Blue Origins, and Virgin Galactic has motivated Indian space startups to work hard and capitalize on the ISRO's position as a global leader in space.

A Morgan Stanley analysis projects that the global space sector will be valued at $1 trillion by 2040. It goes on to say that the satellite launch, satellite internet, deep space exploration, lunar landing, earth observation, mining of asteroids, space debris, space tourism, space research, and manufacturing will be the drivers of the new space ecosystem.

A Space Situational Awareness (SSA) observatory will be constructed in Uttarakhand by the startup company Digantara Research and Technologies, which is based in Karnataka. They will be able to follow satellites in geosynchronous and low-earth orbits as well as space junk, thanks to this. It would create a fully Indian data pool as the first indigenous offering, which can be used for both civic and military applications.

Launch Vehicles

Agnikul, Skyroot, Dhruva, and Pixxel are four businesses. With $ 25 million and$ 51 million, respectively, Pixxel and Skyroot have broken the record for the biggest foreign investment in the sector. Publicly available information indicates that all four are working on creating launch vehicles for commercial payloads. Former ISRO scientists who formed and ran Skyroot Aerospace successfully tested the ‘Dhawan I,’ India's first privately developed entirely cryogenic rocket engine.

An electric thruster is being developed by Bellatrix Aerospace. It was successful in creating a hall-effect thruster for small satellites that offers a dependable propulsion option. Astrogate Labs, a different Indian space company, is creating a laser-based optical satellite communication infrastructure for wider use. This framework will allow for improved data capacity on existing satellites as well as satellite-to-satellite communication.