Azista BST Aerospace Pvt. Ltd., an Indian company just getting its start in the space industry, will have its first satellite launched by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX. The top officials of the Indian company made this announcement, signifying a milestone in the country’s space exploration journey.
According to Sunil Indurti, the director of Azista BST Aerospace, the launch of the 80-kilogramme remote sensing satellite ABA First Runner (AFR) is expected to occur in mid-June 2023.
Azista BST Aerospace is a partnership between Indian and German satellite makers. Azista Industries Pvt Ltd of India owns 70% of the company, and Berlin Space Technologies GmbH of Germany owns the other 30%. Azista Industries has chosen not to accept funds from venture capital firms since it is currently in the financing phase of its business and focuses on the long term.
At first, the company opened its doors in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to supply the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and other groups also benefit from the weather stations they’ve set up.
When Indurti was questioned why SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was chosen rather than India’s own Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) of ISRO, he stated that the choice was made because SpaceX’s rocket included a satellite compartment. The Indian space sector was in the midst of significant upheaval at the time that Azista BST Aerospace reserved a spot on the Falcon 9 rocket. The establishment of a private-sector regulator brought about this transformation. In contrast to SpaceX, which launches several rockets every year, the PSLV rockets used by ISRO are only used occasionally. However, Indurti admitted that ISRO’s launch costs are comparable to other organisations.
Azista BST Aerospace has not yet decided whether it will own a constellation of satellites and make money by selling the data collected by those satellites. As one of the challenges associated with the domestic acquisition of satellite components, Indurti pointed out that semiconductor chips must be imported because it is difficult to obtain them locally. The company manufactures not just reaction wheels but also a wide range of satellite subsystems. The company’s manager of business development states that a goal of 80% locally made goods is in the works.
The business aims to manufacture around one hundred satellites each year, with each spacecraft weighing between fifty and two hundred kilogrammes. Azista BST Aerospace has decided to start building tiny satellites for both military and commercial usage. Previously, the company had only produced subsystems for other satellite makers.
The remote sensing data gathered by the first satellite will be sold, according to the current plan of the company. In addition, if this mission is successful, it will indicate that Azista BST Aerospace can manufacture satellites. AFR is the first remote sensing satellite that the corporation will launch, and it will deliver a panchromatic image with a resolution of five metres and a swath of 70 kilometres.
According to the company’s manager of business development, the first satellite’s data may find a market in the sectors of strategy, agriculture, and analytics. Most of these customers are located in Southeast Asia and other locations, one of which is India.
He noted that three to four missions would demonstrate that the company’s satellite making capabilities within the next two to three years.
The Indian space sector has entered a new era because of the partnership between SpaceX and Azista BST Aerospace. It demonstrates the potential for private companies to contribute considerably to the research and development of space-based technologies. The launch of the AFR satellite is a great milestone for Azista BST Aerospace, but it is also a big achievement for the Indian space industry, representing a huge step towards India’s independence in space technology.
The launch also illustrates the global aspect of space exploration because it involved collaboration between Indian and German enterprises and the use of launch technology developed in the United States. The capacity of space exploration to create technological improvements that transcend national boundaries is demonstrated by this worldwide collaboration, which highlights the uniting force of space exploration.
It will be intriguing to monitor the implications of Azista BST Aerospace’s development and expansion of its activities in the Indian and worldwide space sectors as the company continues to develop and expand its capabilities. The primary focus of the corporation on the production of satellites and the sale of data acquired through remote sensing could open up new doors of opportunity for companies and researchers working in various fields, from agriculture to the military.
The successful launch of the AFR satellite would be a step in the right orbit, but for Azista BST Aerospace, this is just the beginning of the journey. The company is prepared to have a huge impact on the space sector because it intends to create hundreds of satellites and participate in many missions over the next few years.