5 Indian space startups to watch in 2023

5 Indian space startups to watch in 2023

Matching its billing at the start of the year, India’s space industry hit a number of key milestones in 2022. These included our first trial launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro)’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), two rounds of satellite launches from private space firms, and India’s first private rocket launch as well. This has opened the gates to 2023 being a potentially pivotal year for India in space — when Isro could make key announcements for milestone missions such as Gaganyaan, and private startups could find regular launch footing.

On this note, here’s looking at the five most important space startups in India to keep an eye on, in 2023.

Skyroot Aerospace


Through 2022, Skyroot achieved two important milestones. In September this year, the startup raised $50.5 million as part of its Series B funding round, with the investment being led by a foreign investor — Singapore’s sovereign fund, GIC. Not only did this make Skyroot the most-funded private space startup in India at the moment, it also made the funding round the largest single round of funding to date for India’s fledgling space sector. As Sheetal Bahl, partner at venture capital firm GrowX Ventures, told Mint in November, the funding round showed that international investors are harbouring increasing amounts of confidence in the Indian space sector.

In November itself, Skyroot became the first private space startup to launch a rocket from home soil, making it a potentially leading startup to watch in 2023. At the time, Pawan Kumar Chandana, chief executive of Skyroot, told Mint that the startup plans to make its first orbital launch in 2023, where it will carry satellite payload from actual, paying clients to orbit. By 2025, the startup plans to achieve a frequency of two satellite launches every month.

This makes Skyroot one of the most important space startups to watch in the coming year.



Before Skyroot, Pixxel became the first private Indian startup to launch its satellite — sending its first satellite, Shakuntala, to a low Earth orbit (LEO) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April this year. The startup followed this up with a launch aboard Isro’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)’s C54 mission for its second satellite, hence taking a step closer to establishing its high-resolution satellite imaging constellation.

Pixxel, like Skyroot, once held the baton for being the only Indian space startup to have attracted funding from global investors, when it fielded Canada’s Radical Ventures for a $25 million Series A funding round in March this year. At the time, it was also the most funded space startup in the country.


Come 2023, and Pixxel is expected to officially begin relaying data to commercial customers through the final versions of its satellites. The company aims to launch six of them, as per Awais Ahmed, chief executive of Pixxel. In November, Ahmed also told Mint that the startup will seek to open its own satellite factory within the first half of the year, and has signed deals with companies such as global mining firm Rio Tinto — even before its satellite constellation is commercially functioning.

2023 could be the year when Pixxel makes marquee signings in terms of clients, and becomes a leading presence in the global satellite surveillance, imaging and data analytics space.

Agnikul Cosmos


While Skyroot became the first startup to launch a private rocket from India, Agnikul is expected to soon launch India’s first private spaceflight that reaches the orbit (Skyroot’s launch was sub-orbital, meaning that while it flew to space, it did not reach the Earth’s orbit). This makes it one of two key Indian space startups that are vying to rival the likes of France’s Arianespace and USA’s SpaceX to become regular commercial satellite launchers.

Agnikul also became the first space startup to open its own ground station and mission control room in Isro’s premises. Further, in July this year, Agnikul also opened doors to its own rocket engine manufacturing facility. At the moment, it remains the only private startup with its own assembly chain to make its robots — and not need to partner with a vendor.

As a result, it could be one of the most important space startups to watch next year, as Agnikul launches its first orbital spaceflight with its indigenously built rocket, Agnibaan.


Dhruva Space

The Hyderabad-headquartered startup is one of only three private startups in India to have flown at least one of its satellites or launchers to space (alongside Pixxel and Skyroot). So far, Dhruva Space has made two launches, in which it has launched tech demonstrator satellites that can prove its capability as a contract manufacturer for satellites.

Talking to Mint in November this year, Chaitanya Dora, chief financial officer at Dhruva Space, said that the company is in talks to raise a funding round in the first half of 2023 — which it will use to build its own, large-scale satellite manufacturing facility. This could establish Dhruva as India’s first space startup with its own white label satellite-making assembly line, next year.


Naturally, this makes Dhruva an interesting startup to watch in 2023.

Bellatrix Aerospace

Arguably the ‘quietest’ of the top space startups in India, 2023 could be a major year for Bengaluru-based Bellatrix Aerospace. In November this year, the startup announced that it is building a new facility, where it will test and prototype development of satellite thrusters — small engines that would help satellites align themselves, and reach their intended orbits.

The $76 million facility, spread across five acres, could establish Bellatrix Aerospace as a key private space startup that would offer components and peripheral services commercially by 2023. By 2024, Yashas Karanam, cofounder of the startup, told Mint earlier this year that it plans to launch the first phase of its ‘space taxis’ — space shuttles that can transfer satellites from one orbit to another, in a bid to make satellite launches even more affordable.

While most of its services are yet to be launched, 2023 could be a milestone year for Bellatrix.

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