Young promoters of space startups are reaching for the skies. They are raising funds, getting components manufactured overseas, designing rockets and satellites from home and gearing up to send their own rockets or rockets of others carrying their satellites into space.
Two private rocket makers, Skyroot Aerospace and Agnikul Cosmos, recently announced raising $11 million each. On the other hand, the Bengaluru-based satellite maker Syzygy Space Technologies Pvt Ltd, commonly known as Pixxel, had to postpone its first satellite launch slated early this year by an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket owing to a software glitch. After that, the Covid-19 second wave swept the country, resulting in lockdowns and mobility restrictions.
Awais Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, Syzygy Space Technologies, said that while his engineers are upgrading the satellite designs working from home, with Europe opening up, the company is getting some of the components manufactured there. “As things stand and if the Covid-19 situation improves, we hope to orbit our two satellites between October and December this year, one by ISRO and the second one by the US-based SpaceX,” Ahmed added.
Earlier our plan was to fly our rocket Agnibaan during the third quarter of 2022. Now, it may be by the end of 2022. We were not able to test our rocket engine,” Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder and CEO, Agnikul Cosmos, said, adding that the lockdown has given Agnikul time to focus on optimising the rocket’s electronics and software.
Rocket maker Skyroot Aerospace’s Co-Founder and CEO Pawan Kumar Chandana said, “We are using the extra time to make several design improvements which are yielding us time and cost benefits.”