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Is the Space Race only for Billionaires?

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

Let’s accept it, space travel is riskier than putting your money in crypto. So, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic put their founders in their rocket and sent them to space for an hour – to showcase how safe their rockets are (we know its easier to say on hindsight).

But, more importantly, the activities of these billionaire-led space companies (including Elon Musk’s SpaceX) shouts out to young space entrepreneurs that they can dare to dream. They can now develop products and supply to parties other than National Organizations like NASA in the US and ISRO in India.

Moreover, in India regulations around the space sector have for long been extremely restrictive, until the government decided to change the sector for good. In the past 1 year, the GOI has taken several steps to open-up the space sector for participation by private companies, who can now:

  • Collaborate with ISRO on various science and interplanetary missions

  • Use ISRO’s facilities for their own R&D

  • Build/develop their own rockets and satellites

  • Provide launching services and also own satellites.

So how did India's Startup Ecosystem react?

Within a few months of these policy changes, the government’s new nodal agency received 26 proposals ranging from building ground stations, setting up satellite constellations, to developing and launching satellites & launch vehicles. Here’s a glimpse of how some upcoming Indian space-tech startups are benefiting from the burgeoning space economy:

  • Pixxel aims to put a constellation of satellites in space to collect data for carbon emission mapping, climate monitoring, geospatial analysis, disaster management, etc.

  • Agnikul Cosmos is building a 3D-printed rocket engine.

  • SatSure wants to use data from satellite images for actionable intelligence for sectors including fisheries, agriculture and climate change mitigation.

  • Nopo makes highly advanced material needed for spacecrafts.


This article is a part of the July'21 edition of our Startup Newsletter. Here's the complete publication:

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