India’s first home-grown private satellite to hit space

India’s first home-grown private satellite to hit space

Kris Nair, Founder of Exseed Space. 

India’s first home-grown satellite to be built by a private startup will be hurtled into space on  November 19 from California-based SpaceX- contributing not only to the domestic amateur radio community but also globally.

ExseedSpace, the first and only startup to have space pedigree, will become the first Indian company to send a satellite to space. Founders Kris Nair and Ashhar Farhan will put their satellite, ExceedSAT 1, into space with an ultimate goal of ‘democratizing space exploration’ for commercial, government and academic customers and help them leverage the advances in space technology to achieve business and community goals.

“The satellite provides a major boost to private radio operators. It is fully functional as a communications satellite to help co-ordinate messaging between ham radio enthusiasts and help the country in time of disasters,” said Nair, who is working towards setting up India’s first contract satellite manufacturing facility that will cater to the demands of manufacturing cubesats, nano-sats and micro-sats.

Speaking to DH, Nair said that India is the right place to start building the ecosystem for space activities and that drove them to start working on the company last year. “India has a huge heritage and world leadership in satellite launches- not many knew that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was the global market leader in 2017. ISRO and Antrix Corporation gave us good moral support for the past two years,” he said.

However, the company is yet to use ISRO's launch services. Speaking on why Exceed Space could not time it with the recent ISRO launch rather than going all the way to California, Nair said, “For this particular flight, the logistics, slot availability and timings led us to pick SpaceX as a launch partner. We are a launcher-neutral satellite builder. We understand how to qualify and test satellites for ISRO as well as SpaceX standards and look forward to offering our customers the options that work best for them.”

Currently, the company has started design and implementation work for its next private missions — for its global customers.

The mission to be launched from California-based SpaceX at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California would have spacecraft from over 35 different organizations, including 15 microsats and 56 cubesats. The mission includes payloads from 18 countries like US, Australia, Italy, Germany, Brazil and India.