India’s private rocket startup Bellatrix Aerospace has raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding led by IDFC-Parampara, StartupXseed and Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone, among others.
The startup, which has built a launcher for nano satellites and also electric propulsion for satellites, will utilise the fresh capital to prove its products for spaceflight. Bellatrix said it is currently looking for a partner to demonstrate the capabilities of its products in actual space flight.
“In the coming months, we will be subjecting our thrusters to rigorous ground qualification tests and also work on key innovations that will make our products stand out. We will also be expanding to key global locations,” said Rohan Ganapathy, co-founder of Bellatrix Aerospace.
Bellatrix first developed its electric thruster for satellites, which provides massive weight savings over regular chemical thrusters and also has a longer life. It is now working on its own launcher for nano satellites – Chetak – with a payload capacity of 150 kg.
In 2016, the startup started working with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for its electric satellite thrusters which is also a customer. ISRO is simultaneously working on its own plasma thruster designs.
“Bellatrix, as an innovative space technology company resonates well with our earlier unique and deep technology investments. Emerging out of India and with global applications, their innovations in the area of thrusters, have tremendous opportunity worldwide,” said BV Naidu, Managing Partner at StartupXseed.
Bellatrix is among a handful of Indian startups that are eyeing the fast-growing global market for commercial satellites, driven by need for better communication, earth observation and research. India’s space-tech sector is still nascent, with state-run ISRO being India’s only competitor in the market for launching commercial satellites.
But firms such as Exceed Space, Team Indus, Dhruva Space, Astrome and a few others are quickly developing technologies for enabling low-cost manufacturing and assembly of satellites, optical communications, propulsion and other allied technologies that the space sector badly needs.