India’s achievements in the domain in the last 60 years are a testament to India’s homegrown capabilities: ISRO Chief
India will soon launch a four-pronged mission focused solely on quantum technologies: Principal Scientific Advisor
An Inc42 report also estimates that the commercial spacetech market is expected to grow to $77 Bn by 2030
Touting the homegrown startup ecosystem, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman S Somanath has said that the world is looking at India as an ‘inspirational place’ in the spacetech sector.
“The whole world is looking at India as an inspirational place and it is wonderful to see what is happening in India, especially in the space sector, with the startup ecosystem,” Somanath was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
He made the comments while addressing the 18th convocation of the SRM Institute of Science and Technology at Kattankulathur near Chennai.
The ISRO chief also said that he was witnessing a great transformation in the spacetech sector with the foray of startups, adding that the country’s achievements in the domain in the last 60 years were a testament to India’s homegrown capabilities.
“Today, I am seeing a great transformation taking place in the sector, bringing young people in startups, incubating them and then bringing great applications,” ISRO chief was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
Speaking at the event was also the principal scientific advisor to the union government Ajay Kumar Sood who highlighted the need for technically-sound graduates who could develop clean energy solutions and play a larger role in founding deeptech and space startups.
Sood also said that the country was set to launch a four-pronged mission focused solely on quantum technologies. Elaborating further, he said that the mission would focus on four emerging areas, namely quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensing and metrology and quantum materials.
Taking The Leap
The Indian startup ecosystem has suddenly emerged as one of the leading players in the entire Indian startup ecosystem. Buoyed by a vigorous push from the government, the space has seen a slew of spacetech startups mushroom and take off.
It all began in 2020 as the government liberalised the spacetech space and opened it for private players. Since then, the government has also established a slew of institutions to boost the industry and promote startups in the sector.
In 2020, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) was instituted with the aim of regulating the activities of non-government and private entities in the domain. After close to two years, the headquarters of IN-SPACe were inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad this year.
The country’s first public sector undertaking (PSU) in the spacetech sector, New Space India Limited (NSIL), was also set up by the government as the commercial arm of ISRO.
Beginning this year, the government also increased the outlay for the Department of Space by INR 1,058 Cr to around INR 13,700 Cr in Budget 2022.
In addition, it was previously also reported that the union government was looking at introducing three policies as part of the Space Activity Bill in 2022. The draft bill reportedly plans to define the scope of foreign direct investments in the sector and to further shore up sectoral participation between ISRO and homegrown spacetech startups.
According to latest official figures, India is home to more than 100 spacetech startups working in the sector.
Despite the funding winter, the Indian spacetech has emerged as a big winner and has wooed global as well as Indian investors.
Earlier this month, Skyroot raised the highest funding for an Indian spacetech startup, bagging $51 Mn as part of its Series B funding round led by GIC. In August, consultancy firm Accenture made a strategic investment in spacetech startup Pixxel. Pixxel had also raised $25 Mn in its Series A funding round led by Canada-based Radical Ventures in March this year.
Another spacetech startup — Agnikul is in talks to raise $40 Mn in a Series B round at a valuation of $250 Mn.
An Inc42 report also estimates that the commercial spacetech market is expected to grow to $77 Bn by 2030.