India’s first satellite built by a private firm was launched into space by Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Monday. It is a mini communication satellite built by Mumbai-based startup ‘Exseed Space’.
Weighing just one kg, the satellite was built in just 18 months. It was launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg air force base in California along with 63 other satellites from 17 other countries.
“Typically it takes years and millions of dollars to put together one satellite. With the successful launch of Exseed SAT1, the team has now demonstrated that it is possible to build reliable commercial-grade spacecraft in a matter of months without spending a lot of money," Exseed Space’s CEO Kris Nair tweeted about the satellite launch.
The mini communication satellite aims at serving the country during national calamities by helping the amateur radio community in coordinating messages amongst them.
The Exseed satellite, launched after a delay of 10 days due to technical reasons and weather conditions, is expected to have a life span of two years. Twice the size of the Rubik's Cube puzzle, it has finally broken ISRO’s decades-long monopoly over building satellites.
Exseed Sat-1 has paved the way for private-funded satellites to be launched into space. Along with the 63 satellites, Falcon 9 also carried the cremated remains of 100 people to space including those of military veterans and aerospace enthusiasts.