Not limited by skies, India’s spacetech start-ups look at different segments to enter next growth orbit

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After the successful launch of India’s first privately built Vikram-S rocket on November 18, the ambitions of several other spacetech start-ups have soared. These companies, which are developing everything from rockets to satellites to space applications, look at the achievement of Kondapur (Telangana)-based Skyroot Aerospace, which puts their sector on a high growth trajectory.

For example, within a week of the Skyroot launch, spacetech start-ups Pixel and Dhruv Space will send their payloads on space agency Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), at 1156 IST. Saturday.

Former Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra, one of the country’s leading automakers and current Chairman, IN-SPACe, the single window nodal agency for promoting and regulating space-tech players, Dr. Pawan Goenka on the tremendous growth potential I am completely sure. Spacetech sector of the country.

“This first rocket launch by Skyroot is perhaps the most important milestone for the Indian private space sector as the space reforms announced by India are indicative of the increasingly transformative journey we are witnessing,” he added.

However, the momentum was perhaps set on June 30 itself when high-end technology payloads from Bengaluru-based Digantara Aerospace and Hyderabad-based Dhruva Space were successfully launched from the prestigious Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) in Andhra Pradesh on July 1.

In an earlier interview with Business Today, Dr. Goenka accurately predicted a surge in the second half of 2022 in apparent breakthroughs by startups in this space. Was celebrated

Awais Ahmed, founder and CEO of small hyperspectral satellite maker Pixel, felt that the country’s spacetech sector has seen substantial growth in the past three years. Earlier this year, Bengaluru-based Pixel sent a satellite into space using Elon Musk-promoted SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

“We have been a fan of Skyroute ever since we started our space journey. We are eagerly waiting to someday launch our satellites along with them,” commented Ahmed.

Pixel will put into space its third earth imaging satellite Anand (Arth Anand), while Dhruva Space will launch its Thibeault series of communication satellites.

“In June we successfully space-qualified our Orbital Satellite Deployer on PSLV. Saturday’s launch will help demonstrate and qualify our indigenously developed 0.5U CubeSat nanosatellites, Thybolt-1 and Thybolt-2,” said Kranti Chand, head of strategy and special projects at Dhruva Space.

Aimed at amateur radio or ham users, the Thiebault mission is supported by several notable radio clubs across the country, including the Star Fleet Amateur Radio Club, National Institute for Amateur Radio (NIAR), Indian Institute of Hams, Aniruddha’s Disaster Management Academy, West. Bengal Amateur Radio Club, Indian Academy of Communication and Disaster Management and SSM College of Engineering. It is estimated that there are over 22,000 licensed ham radio operators in India.

“The potential is huge!”

A faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras and co-founder of The E-Plane Company, Prof. Satyanarayan R Chakraborty observed that the country has emerged as the carrier of the world’s payloads in outer space. Incidentally, Prof. Chakraborty has successfully incubated several startups, including Chennai-headquartered Agnikul, which recently tested the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed rocket engine, and is now preparing to send its first Agnibaan rocket into space. Used to be.

Pro. “With the SSLVs of ISRO, Skyroot and Agnikul, all put together, we could potentially become the space lorry, if you want to haul all the stuff to the world,” Chakraborty said. “The next thing that is possible is that startups can take advantage of ISRO’s success and take humans at least to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for tourism. The potential is huge!”

Anirudh Sharma, co-founder and CEO of Digantara Research and Technologies, describes 2022 as a “transformational year” for Indian spacetech startups.

“The last one year has seen a paradigm shift in the private Indian space ecosystem. Spacetech start-ups in India have demonstrated time and again their ability to independently build critical technology and government support to realize technology has given them the confidence to leapfrog into building products for the world Sharma commented.

Digantara is already building a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) observatory in the hill state of Uttarakhand to track satellites and space debris in LEO and Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) to offer global space traffic management operations.

With a significant 36 per cent share, the satellite services and applications segment will be the largest segment of India’s space economy, noted a joint study released by EY and the Indian Space Association (ISPA) in October.

Elaborating on the report’s projections, Lt Gen AK Bhatt, Director General, ISpA, said, “India’s space economy is set to grow to $13 billion and the space launch segment is projected to grow fastest at 13 per cent CAGR by 2025. percentage, which will further be driven by increasing private participation, adoption of latest technology and lower cost of launch services.

In addition, the country’s satellite manufacturing capacity is expected to grow from $2.1 billion in 2020 to $3.2 billion by 2025.

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