India’s Bellatrix Aerospace raises $8 million Series A for space propulsion project

SEOUL, South Korea — Indian aerospace startup Bellatrix Aerospace announced on June 1 that it had raised $8 million in a Series A Funding round to advance the development of propulsion systems for space. Including Raised $3 million in Pre-Series A in June 2019, Bellatrix has raised $11 million since its inception in 2015. Investors include StartupXseed, Pavestone Capital, Mankind Pharma Family Office, Survam Partners and Karsemven Fund. Several angel investors and family offices joined the latest round of funding, the company said in a Statement of June 1st.

“Over the past decade, the number of satellites in space has increased nearly tenfold and is likely to multiply rapidly over the next decade due to announced missions by the private sector,” the company said in a statement. “Space propulsion systems that save costs and use greener technologies are becoming increasingly relevant to the growing satellite market.” The company added that orbital transfer vehicles are becoming a “new means of reaching orbit in ride-sharing missions for micro and small satellites.” Bellatrix is ​​developing an orbital transfer vehicle based on its space propulsion technologies as part of its efforts to become a full-fledged space technology company.

In the statement, Rohan M. Ganapathy, Bellatrix co-founder and CEO, said that the pre-Series A funding helped the company develop “numerous critical technologies in-house.” The recent funding will help his company expand its product portfolio, hire new employees and validate its products in space. The chief executive said the company plans to complete development and testing of four in-house developed engine modules by the end of the year. The company also plans to complete space qualification testing of its in-development orbital transfer vehicle “in the coming months.”

Although Bellatrix has not elaborated on how the space qualification test will be conducted, it is likely that the vehicle will be launched aboard a rocket developed by another Indian space startup Skyroot Aerospace. The two companies signed a Letter of intent in February 2021, under which the Bellatrix orbital transfer vehicle is scheduled to launch on a rocket that Skyroot is developing. The latter, founded in 2018 by former Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) scientists, is developing a small satellite launch vehicle called the Vikram 1. It is a three-stage solid-fuel satellite launch vehicle that will deliver up to 500 kilograms of payload, according to data the company into low Earth orbit and 500 kilograms into sun-synchronous polar orbit website.

Skyroot has successfully performed a Third stage endurance test of Vikram 1 in May, which lasted 108 seconds with a peak thrust of 100 kN. Test firings of the rocket’s first and second stages are expected in the coming months as the company aims to complete Vikram I’s maiden flight by the end of the year and the first commercial orbital mission early next year.

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