The grant under the Ministry of Defence’s programme is aimed at Pixxel manufacturing miniaturised multi-payload satellites for the Indian Air Force
While Pixxel didn’t close the exact amount of financial aid it would receive, it called it a multi-crore grant
Pixxel, backed by the likes of Google, Blume Ventures and Omnivore VC, raised $36 Mn in its Series B round last month
Spacetech startup Pixxel on Tuesday (July 25) said it has won a grant from iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence under the Ministry of Defence) to manufacture miniaturised multi-payload satellites for the Indian Air Force.
The grant, received for the Mission DefSpace Challenge under iDEX Prime (Space), will equip Pixxel to develop small satellites of up to 150 kgs for electro-optical, infrared, synthetic aperture radar and hyper spectral purposes, the company said in a statement.
While Pixxel didn’t close the exact amount of financial aid it would receive, it called it a multi-crore grant.
Commenting on the development, Pixxel CEO Awais Ahmed said, “We are delighted to receive iDEX’s grant and utilise our expertise of building microsatellites in-house to manufacture satellites externally for the first time. This recognition highlights Pixxel’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of space exploration and innovation.”
iDEX is an initiative of the Ministry of Defence to foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace sectors by engaging MSMEs, startups, R&D institutes, among others. The scheme has a financial outlay of INR 498.78 Cr for 2021-22 to 2025-26 period.
The latest development is expected to play a key role in the government’s efforts to promote self-reliance. Pixxel, founded in 2019 by Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, is developing hyperspectral imaging satellites for customers to offer them AI-enabled insights to discover, resolve and forecast climate issues in real-time.
Last month, the startup raised $36 Mn in its Series B round from Google and other existing investors. In total, the startup has raised $71 Mn till date and is backed by marquee names like Lightspeed, Blume Ventures, Omnivore VC, among others.
Pixxel is aiming to launch six satellites in 2024 and 18 in 2025.
With the government opening up the spacetech sector for private players, Indian startups in the sector have taken big leaps in the last few years. Agnikul and Skyroot Aerospace are some of the other major spacetech startups in India.
India’s spactech market is expected to reach a size of $77 Bn by 2030.