This startup which makes satellite launches cheaper and faster raises funds to start commercial operations

This startup which makes satellite launches cheaper and faster raises funds to start commercial operations
Rohan M Ganapathy and Yashas Karanam, founders of BellatrixBellatrix
  • Bellatrix Aerospace has raised $8 million in a round led by Inflexor Venture LLP and BASF Venture Capital GmbH.
  • The company plans to use this funding to start expanding commercial operations their operations by the end of 2022.
  • It will be launching space taxis and expanding its propulsion systems for commercial use.
Spacetech startup Bellatrix Aerospace is raising $8 million in a round led by Inflexor Venture and BASF Venture Capital GmbH, the corporate venture company of the German multinational chemical company BASF SE.

StartupXseed, Pavestone Capital, Mankind Pharma family office, Survam Partners and Karsemven Fund also participated in this Series A round, along with other prominent family offices and angel investors.

Bellatrix was founded in 2015 by Rohan M Ganapathy and Yashas Karanam — is in the business of manufacturing satellite launch vehicles and propulsion systems. It co-exists with other spacetech companies like Agnikul, Dhruva Space and Pixxel.

Space taxis as a B2B offering

The company plans to use this funding to expand its commercialization efforts by the end of 2022 with the launch of space taxis, Bellatrix’s chief executive officer Rohan M Ganapathy told Business Insider.


“The technologies being developed for use in space have the potential to offer many opportunities for the chemical industry, for example in new materials and for innovative application cases of chemistry on earth and in orbit. In India in particular, this industry is currently experiencing an unprecedented upturn," said Markus Solibieda, MD of BASF Venture Capital GmbH.

Space taxis would be a business-to-business offering, which will allow the company to launch multiple micro-satellites into space on behalf of its clients using one Orbital Transfer Vehicle.

Size does matter

Ganapathy explained that the size of satellites have been reducing, while the size of rockets or space launch vehicles has remained consistent. Launching small satellites on this big rocket is expensive and it underutilizes the space available.

This has brought opportunities for several big spacetech companies to develop small launch vehicles, but it is again an expensive process. “It is again like a chartered flight, it is still expensive,” he noted.

“What we want to do is, look at the underutilized capacity of the larger rocket, whose launch frequency is expected to increase. We want to ensure that our OTV [Orbital Transfer Vehicle] can make ridesharing on such launches cost efficient, precise and quicker,” he said.

Many satellites, one rocket

Space Taxi will utilize the additional capacity of the bigger rocket and carry many passengers [satellites] who want to go to multiple different orbits,” Ganapathy, founder, CTO and CEO of Bellatrix explained.

The initial version of the Space Taxi, called the Pushpak, can carry satellites up to 600 kg.

“We see the space industry is growing exponentially, and Bellatrix’s products will play a major part in democratizing access to the space industry with their cost-effective and power-efficient thruster systems, ideal for small satellite manufacturers,” said Venkat Vallabhaneni, managing partner at Inflexor Ventures.

The company also tested a green propulsion system last month. Spacecraft propulsion is any method used to accelerate spacecraft and artificial satellites.

The company plans to hire 40 more employees across both technology and business verticals, Karanam added. While the company will be looking to hire tech talent from India, the business talent would be hired all across the globe.

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