New Delhi: In a first, a Bengaluru-based private satellite company Syzygy Space Technologies Pvt Ltd, commonly known as Pixxel is all set to send India’s first homegrown private, commercial Earth-imaging satellite to space as it has associated itself with the government-backed space organisation– Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).Also Read - ISRO: Dr. S Somanath, Team Lead For Integration of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Now New Chief Of ISRO

The company’s first satellite ‘ANAND’ will be launched in its PSLV-C51 (polar satellite launch vehicle) mission which is scheduled to launch sometime in February 2021. Also Read - Who Is S Somanath, Kerala Scientist To Be Appointed New ISRO Chief | Your 10-Point Guide

Earlier last month, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said that ‘ANAND’ is fully built by a start-up as part of enabling private players in space exploration and it is special for the entire country. Also Read - ISRO: Gaganyaan To Be Finally Launched In 2023, India Becomes Fourth Nation To Launch Human Spaceflight | Must Watch

Speaking after the successful launch of communication satellite “CMS-01” on-board PSLV-C50 from the spaceport in Sriharikota, Sivan said, “The government of India has initiated (reforms) and within eight months, the first satellite “ANAND” from a start-up called Pixel India, is going to be launched.”

The chairman said along with it two more satellites “SATISH SAT”, built by “Space Kids India”, and “UNIT-SAT”, built by consortium of universities, would be sent. “Definitely, PSLV-C51 (mission) is going to be a first of its kind in the country. It is going to initiate a new era of space reforms in India and I am sure that these private people will take this activity further and provide services for the entire country,” he added.

The private satellite company also plans to have its constellation of 30 small earth observation satellites up in the sky by the end of 2022. The first satellite by the company that will be flown by the PSLV rocket to the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will weigh 15 kg.

“It will be in the size of a small refrigerator. The life of the first satellite will be two/three years. It is a technology demonstration satellite. The satellite has been manufactured in Chennai by a partner and has been integrated. The final tests are on,” said Awais Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, Syzygy Space Technologies.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ahmed took to Twitter and posted an image of the satellite captioning the post as ‘India’s first private commercial and earth-imaging satellite’.

“Our second satellite will be flown by US company SpaceX next year. We have looked at various options, including Russian rocket. We would prefer ISRO as logistically it is convenient for us,” he said.

According to Ahmed, the company will also look at ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) for future launches as it would work out cheaper. Normally, a rocket company charges a carriage fee between Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 per kg. The SSLV may work out cheaper, he had said.

According to him, the company has signed up various clients in seed, fertiliser, and oil and gas within and outside India. Ahmed further said the camera’s Firefly satellite constellation is specially designed by his company which would give a different image not seen till now.

He said the company has raised about $5.7 million as capital till date. Pixxel is a young aerospace startup which was started by two BITS Pilani graduates Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal in February 2019, and later became Asia’s only space startup to qualify for the 2019 Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator in Los Angeles.