New Delhi: Pixxel, a pioneering space start-up, has recently secured a multi-crore government grant to build miniaturized multi-payload satellites designed exclusively for the Indian Air Force, marking its entrance into the defence domain.
The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) of the Defense Ministry has generously offered this grant to Pixxel. The company’s objective is to develop compact satellites, weighing up to 150 kg, catering to electro-optical, infrared, synthetic aperture radar, and hyperspectral applications, a statement from the Bengaluru-based start-up said.
Awais Ahmed, the CEO of Pixxel, expressed his sheer delight at the news, stating, “We are elated to have been granted the iDEX opportunity and to employ our in-house expertise in microsatellite construction to fabricate satellites externally for the very first time.”
The SPARKS initiative falls under the umbrella of Mission DefSpace, a visionary project launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year. It encompasses 75 Defense Space challenges across five fundamental categories, namely, launch systems, satellite systems, communication and payload systems, ground systems, and software systems.
Prior to this accomplishment, Pixxel had successfully launched commercial hyperspectral imaging satellites that catered to earth-imaging services to its customers that also include the US “National Reconnaissance Office.”
Ahmed reiterated that the iDEX grant served as a testament to Pixxel’s unwavering dedication to pushing the boundaries of space exploration and innovation. “We are grateful for the trust placed in us and excited to embark on this next phase of collaboration with the Indian government,” he said.
Vivek Virmani, the Chief Operating Officer of iDEX-DIO, expressed his delight at witnessing the remarkable evolution of start-ups within the Indian space industry. He regarded Pixxel as a shining example of the tremendous progress made by private entities in this sector in an astoundingly short span of time.
He further said, “The grant is aimed at developing technologies addressing every stage of a space mission, right from mission planning and manufacturing to satellite data analytics and more. Our confidence in Pixxel’s satellite manufacturing capabilities showcases the power of partnerships in advancing the use of satellite technology for the country. We congratulate Pixxel and look forward to working with them.”
The SPARK grants, offered to selected start-ups through the iDEX (Prime) & DISC initiatives, are intended to ignite innovation and empower Indian innovators and entrepreneurs to deliver technologically advanced solutions and drive deep-tech innovations within India.
The Mission DefSpace seeks to foster technology development in the realm of defence applications by start-ups and young entrepreneurs through various initiatives by the Defense Ministry and iDEX.