Pixxel, a prominent space-tech startup supported by renowned entities such as Google, Blume Ventures, and Omnivore VC, has been awarded a significant grant from iDEX (Innovations For Defence Excellence), an initiative established by the Ministry of Defence. This grant will enable Pixxel to develop small, multi-purpose satellites for the Indian Air Force, contributing to India’s ambitious space and defense plans. The grant is part of the Mission DefSpace Challenge under the broader iDEX Prime (Space) initiative.
Pixxel’s Background and Mission
Pixxel, founded in 2019 by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, specializes in crafting hyperspectral imaging satellites. These cutting-edge devices provide real-time, AI-facilitated data on various environmental phenomena. With an impressive funding pool of $71 million, including a recent Series B round contribution of $36 million, Pixxel has rapidly ascended in the space-tech domain.
The iDEX Grant and Its Significance
The grant received from iDEX remains undisclosed in its exact value but is known to be in the multi-crore range. This funding positions Pixxel to develop agile satellites weighing no more than 150 kilograms. These multi-purpose satellites will be designed to perform electro-optical, infrared, synthetic aperture radar, and hyperspectral tasks, bolstering India’s defense architecture and expanding the country’s space technology capabilities.
Understanding the iDEX Initiative
The iDEX initiative is a strategic plan by the Ministry of Defence aimed at stimulating technological evolution in the defense and aerospace sectors. It brings together an eclectic mix of MSMEs, startups, and R&D institutes to foster innovation in these domains.
Pixxel’s Ambitious Roadmap
As part of its ambitious roadmap, Pixxel plans to launch six satellites into orbit in 2024, followed by an astonishing 18 satellites in 2025. These satellites will harvest crucial hyperspectral images of the Earth, gathering data across various electromagnetic spectrum wavelengths, significantly enriching our understanding of the planet’s wellness.
India’s Space-Tech Sector Progression
Pixxel’s recent grant underscores the swift progression of India’s space-tech sector, with other pioneering companies like Agnikul and Skyroot Aerospace also making strides. Forecasts suggest that India’s space-tech market may reach an impressive $77 billion by 2030, demonstrating the country’s dedication to fostering deep-tech innovations in this field.