IIT-M-incubated startup to launch maiden satellite by March 2024

Here, the research and innovation you bring is with sensors.
IIT-Madras  (Photo | Sunish P Surendran, EPS)
IIT-Madras (Photo | Sunish P Surendran, EPS)

BENGALURU: Homegrown space-tech startup GalaxEye Space plans to launch its first satellite by March 2024. The satellite, called Drishti Mission, will be integrated with the company’s own-built Drishti Sensor — a solution offering co-registered optical and synthetic aperture radar datasets for enhanced satellite imagery, which will enable capturing high cadence and resolution imagery from space. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras-incubated firm is eyeing slots on Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) launch vehicles, besides SpaceX, to be lifted into space and placed in orbit.    

Speaking to The New Indian Express, GalaxEye Space Co-founder and CEO, Suyash Singh, said, “We are building the world’s first earth observation multi-sensor micro-satellite, called the Drishti Mission. This looks to serve markets that have large infrastructure... in areas such as (general) insurance or reinsurance activities, utilities monitoring and agriculture monitoring.”

“Primarily, we are into satellites. Here, the research and innovation you bring is with sensors. Hence, we have put a couple of imaging sensors on board our satellite. Secondly, we are putting a computer on board that basically processes data in orbit. The entire system collects data, processes it, and beams it to Earth for use,” he said.

The micro-satellite is expected to weigh between 100 kg and 200 kg, and the company is looking at over 70 per cent indigenisation. “Drishti Mission is designed to provide intuitive, all-time, all-weather datasets that are agnostic of the time of day,” Singh said, adding that the satellite is currently under development. The satellite is slated to enter low-earth orbit, which is normally up to an altitude of 1,000 km.

Meanwhile, GalaxEye’s Drishti Sensor, which will go on the satellite, is currently being tested on ground and aerial conditions, before moving into space. “The design of the sensor and satellite is entirely ours, but for certain manufacturing bits, we are taking help from partners, mostly Indian,” he said. Private enterprise in the Indian space sector is rapidly increasing, with several startups coming forward to utilise space to improve life and livelihood on Earth.

With renewed government support, there is immense scope for newer players to partake of this opportunity. “The Indian space-tech startup ecosystem is primarily innovation-first and technology-first. While we are competing with global companies, the idea is to demonstrate how we build space technologies frugally,” opined Singh.

Meanwhile, GalaxEye Space has raised $3.5 million in seed funding from tech fund Speciale Invest towards its first satellite mission, and is expanding its team.

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The New Indian Express