India has opened its space agency facilities to allow private firms and startups to build rockets, satellites and provide launch services, just like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an allocation of INR 13,479.47 crore for the Department of Space(DOS) in union budget 2020-2021, which is a 7.5% increase from last year. Indian government initiatives have opened up opportunities in multiple segments like satellite manufacturing, ground support equipment manufacturing, and launch industry.
Space is already a thing of pride for India, through India’s manned moon mission and recent mars mission.
Few interesting facts about India’s Space achievements are
- India ranks among the top six space-faring nations of the world in terms of budget and technological capabilities.
- ISRO is at no. 5 in the world with a budget of more than 1.5 billion USD.
- The Indian space economy is valued at USD 7 billion, which is around 2% of the global space economy.
- The Indian space industry is growing with 48% CAGR.
- India has launched 118 satellites since 1975. a new record by launching 104 satellites in one go by ISRO.
- The demand for small satellites is huge and an estimated 17,000 could be launched between 2018 and 2030.
Startups and companies were already sprawling in the space sector and this transition in strategy would boost their efforts a lot.
Here are a few big names in the Indian Space sector
Finding: Raised a total of USD 3M over 2 rounds.
Bellatrix Aerospace is a research and development company developing orbital launch vehicles (rockets) and electric propulsion systems for satellites. In the field of satellite propulsion, Bellatrix offers to reduce satellite mission cost through its patented electric propulsion systems.
Funding: Raised a total of USD 3.9M over 2 rounds.
Skyroot provides low-cost launch solutions to reach space in lesser time. The startup’s three launch vehicles – Vikram I, II, and III – can carry payloads ranging from 200 kg to 700 kg to low Earth orbit. Skyroot Aerospace expects its first rocket to be launched by 2021.
Funding: Raised a total of INR 264M over 2 rounds.
Agnikul Cosmos develops the low Earth orbits based launch vehicles, design, manufacture, test, and launch orbital-class rockets for micro and nanosatellites. Agnikul Cosmos is developing a satellite launch vehicle for a payload capacity of up to 100 kg.
Funding: Raised a total of INR 50M over 1 round.
Dhruva Space is building small satellite platforms for commercial and scientific applications. Spacecraft platforms developed by Dhruva Space is catering the needs of various Governments, Multi-National Companies, Universities & Research Institutions for applications such as technology demonstration, communications & earth observation missions.
Other offices: Mumbai, Osaka, San Francisco, New York, and Vienna.
Earth2Orbit (E2O) is India’s first private space start-up in India.
It offers products and services in satellite launches and space exploration. It provides launch services, satellite fabrication, ground station services, and human space systems, which include transportation, habitation, and exploration systems. E2O also offers robotic systems, such as planetary orbiters, landers, and rovers.
The next decade might be the defining period for the Indian Space sector to assert their dominance. The role played by these startups and their investors with opportunities like Moon mission, Mars mission, Human space-traveling programs, low-cost satellite launches, and Space Frontier would be critical and something worth the wait-and-watch.