A hundred years ago in 1911, the father of modern cosmonautics Konstantin Tsiolkovsky remarked in a letter written to his friend about how humanity will one day explore and conquer the solar space. More than a 100 years have passed and Konstantin has been proven right but alas ! we have only been to the moon and back, no further !
This is all set to change in this decade as the United States has emerged as incubation hub for space startups like SpaceX and Blue Origin who intend to setup permanent human settlements on other planets. The new space race is led by private space startups, under the experienced leadership of established entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
With all the activity in the US, can India lag behind ?
In the last few years India has witnessed a boom and more than a dozen space focused startups have emerged. Bangalore in India has emerged as India’s space startup hub. Almost all the startups which are focused on space launch or satellite fabrication have a presence or are headquartered in Bangalore.
This is because over decades Bangalore has emerged as the scientific hub of the country and is also the headquarters of India’s National Space Agency ISRO . The government took a conscious policy decision in the mid 1950’s to establish defense and scientific establishments in Bangalore ostensibly to keep them out of reach of India’s northern neighbor. By strategically locating them in the south , any adversary will have to traverse vast distances before he can reach these strategic assets, making Bangalore a safe haven for scientific establishments.
Team Indus – http://www.teamindus.in
is a Bangalore based startup led by Rahul Narayan and is the only Indian team participating in the Google Lunar X Prize mission. The company raised Rs 9 Crore until mid 2015 from a clutch of investors that includes Nandan Nilekani (Co-Founder of Infosys Technologies), Rajiv Mody (Co-Founder of Sasken Technologies) and Ajai Choudhary (Co-Founder of HCL Technologies). The company has built a lunar rover and expects to launch in the third quarter of 2016 to win the Google Lunar X Prize.
Earth2Orbit – http://www.earth2orbit.com
Founded by Sushmita Mohanty , the company claims to be India’s first private space firm. The firm raised an undisclosed amount of money from Mumbai angels and other investors. The company currently offers launch advisory and consulting services.
Dhruva Space – http://www.dhruvaspace.com
A new entrant to this league, the firm was founded by Narayan Prasad and Sanjay Nekkanti in 2012. The team at Dhruva space is currently developing an indigenous small satellite platform.
ARDL – http://www.ardl.org
Founded at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) , the team of ARDL comprises of Sidhant Dhall, Triyambak Tripathy, Gaurav Achha and Ayush Patawari. The company currently fabricates Mini CANSAT modules and other related space hardware.
Astrome – http://www.astrome.co
Another Space Startup with it’s roots in IISc is Astrome, which has Prasad HL and Neha Satak as it’s founder. The startup is fairly new to this league and aims to develop products and services which aid in space exploration.
Here’s to all you dreamers !