Indian startups join the space race
The flight, a 90km sub-orbital jaunt, was over in minutes. But for India the rocket launched by Skyroot Aerospace on November 18th, the first by a private company in the country, was a moonshot. Numerous other flights in the coming months will signal an industry ready for take-off.
Satellites built by two Indian companies are set to be sent into space on November 26th, carried on a rocket launched by Indias space agency. The one made by Pixxel, a Bangalore-based startup, is intended to be the first of dozens that will provide detailed images of Earth. Two manufactured by Dhruva Space from Hyderabad will serve to demonstrate to potential customers that it can make, deploy and operate satellites successfully. A second private rocket launch by Agnikul Cosmos is set for December.
Indias involvement in space is not new. Rockets were first sent up in the early 1960s, satellite launches began in 1975 and a probe went to the moon in 2008 . A reputation for low-cost space research was cemented in 2013 when another probe was dispatched to Mars for less than the budget of a Hollywood film about a doomed space mission released around the same time. But India is no superpower. Revenues from the space economy are currently estimated to be nearly $10bn a year, only around 2% of the global total.
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