Bangalore-based space technology start-up Pixxel has entered into an agreement with ISRO's newly established commercial arm, NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), also a Government of India company under the Department of Space (DoS), to launch the start-up’s first remote-sensing satellite and India's first private remote-sensing satellite on an ISRO PSLV rocket in early 2021.

DoS and Pixxel will collaborate to enhance utilization and maximize the benefits of space assets for India. 

Though IRS-1A was India's first of the series of indigenous state-of-art operating remote sensing satellites that were launched in 1988. Pixxel's satellite will be India's first private remote-sensing satellite to be launched by Indian space agency ISRO. The ISRO-Pixxel agreement comes after recently established IN-SPACe, the authorization and regulatory body under the Department of Space (DoS) for enabling private players including start-ups to undertake space activities in India.

K.Sivan, Secretary of DoS, said - With the establishment of IN-SPACe we will also be partnering with other private players, that can help India achieve more milestones in the future.

"This first-of-a-kind private earth-observation mission will help provide solutions to many pressing environmental and agricultural issues among others and help make the world a better and more sustainable place," Pixxel said in a media statement.

Pixxel is building a constellation of earth imaging small satellites that will provide global coverage every 24 hours once fully deployed. The satellites will collect high-throughput information-rich data that will be analysed using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models to help make organizations more efficient in a plethora of sectors ranging from agriculture to urban monitoring among others.

Awais Ahmed, CEO, Pixxel, said "We are elated with the fact that India’s first commercial private satellite will now launch on an Indian rocket. This is not only a proud moment for us as an organisation but also as citizens to work with our nation’s capabilities."

Earlier in November last year, Pixxel had also inked an agreement with Italian firm Leaf Space for launching the first of its 24 earth imagery satellites, which was scheduled in July this year. 

Started by BITS Pilani alumni, Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, in February 2019, Pixxel was Asia's only Space Startup to qualify for the 2019 Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator in Los Angeles.