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STARTUP 11: Five-man army of GalaxEye aiming to reach space

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By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, Dec 12 (IANS) They are the ‘Five-Man Army’ from the portals of Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) with a mission to revolutionize the imaging services with their advanced earth observation satellites.

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Their mode to achieve the mission is by designing, developing and orbiting a 15 satellite constellation. Each one of the satellites would weigh not less than 150 kg.

The five-member team that is charting the path for GalaxEye Space Solutions Pvt Ltd, a space-tech startup incubated at IIM Incubation Cell are: Suyash Singh, Co-Founder & CEO, Denil Chawda, Co-Founder & CTO, Rakshit Bhatt, Vice President, Computing, Kishan Thakkar, Vice President, Product Development and Pranit Mehta, Vice President, Business Development.

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“We got interested in space technology and joined as a team in 2020. The company was incorporated in May 2021,” Chawda told IANS.

“The promoters (Founding Members) are hived out of Team Avishkar Hyperloop, a group of students at IIT Madras, working on building technologies to realise Hyperloop,” Mehta added.

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According to Chawda, GalaxEye would design the satellite, source the components and outsource the spacecraft’s fabrication.

“We are in the middle of the design phase. We will innovate on the payload part, develop new kinds of sensors. The first satellite will be ready in Q3 of 2023. Our constellation of satellites will be ready over a period of five years,” Chawda said.

As part of readying its payloads, GalaxEye will carry out an airborne test in March 2022, he added.

“Having validated our technology with a proof of concept, we are currently validating our product with a prototype that would instil more confidence, and de-risk the involved technologies to a great extent,” Mehta remarked.

“Apart from core data sets, GalaxEye will also provide complementary data to our customers. We want to give fine resolution images,” Chawda said.

The company is also in talks with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).

He said each satellite will have a life span of five years.

According to Mehta, the current global market size for earth observation satellite images is about $3.5-4 billion and expected to grow to about $7.5 billion over the next 10 years.

Queried about fund raising and plans for further funds Mehta said: “We are currently Pre-Seed funded, with the previous round led by Speciale Invest. Apart from that, the team has won grants – Tide 2.0 Challenge Grant by CIIE.CO, TANSEED Grant by StartupTN and Meity Startup Grant.”

With a headcount of about 25, GalaxEye is looking to expand and get more domain expertise to accelerate its journey towards putting its satellite in space.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)



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