Matching its billing at the start of the year, India’s space industry hit a number of key milestones in 2022. These included our first trial launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), two rounds of satellite launches from private space firms, and India’s first private rocket launch as well. This has opened the gates to 2023 being a potentially pivotal year for India in space — when ISRO could make key announcements for milestone missions such as Gaganyaan, and private start-ups could find regular launch footing.

On this note, here’s looking at the five most important space start-ups in India to keep an eye on, in 2023.

Skyroot Aerospace

Through 2022, Skyroot achieved two important milestones. In September this year, the start-up raised $50.5 million as part of its Series B funding round, with the investment being led by a foreign investor — Singapore’s sovereign fund, GIC. Not only did this make Skyroot the most-funded private space start-up in India at the moment, it also made the funding round the largest single round of funding to date for India’s fledgling space sector. As Sheetal Bahl, partner at venture capital firm GrowX Ventures, told Mint in November, the funding round showed that international investors are harbouring increasing amounts of confidence in the Indian space sector.

In November itself, Skyroot became the first private space start-up to launch a rocket from home soil, making it a potentially leading start-up to watch in 2023. At the time, Pawan Kumar Chandana, chief executive of Skyroot, told Mint that the start-up plans to make its first orbital launch in 2023, where it will carry satellite payload from actual, paying clients to orbit. By 2025, the start-up plans to achieve a frequency of two satellite launches every month.

This makes Skyroot one of the most important space start-ups to watch in the coming year.


Before Skyroot, Pixxel became the first private Indian start-up to launch its satellite — sending its first satellite, Shakuntala, to a low Earth orbit (LEO) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April this year. The start-up followed this up with a launch aboard ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)’s C54 mission for its second satellite, hence taking a step closer to establishing its high-resolution satellite imaging constellation.

Pixxel, like Skyroot, once held the baton for being the only Indian space start-up to have attracted funding from global investors, when it fielded Canada’s Radical Ventures for a $25 million Series A funding round in March this year. At the time, it was also the most funded space start-up in the country.

Come 2023, and Pixxel is expected to officially begin relaying data to commercial customers through the final versions of its satellites. The company aims to launch six of them, as per Awais Ahmed, chief executive of Pixxel. In November, Ahmed also told Mint that the startup will seek to open its own satellite factory within the first half of the year, and has signed deals with companies such as global mining firm Rio Tinto — even before its satellite constellation is commercially functioning.

2023 could be the year when Pixxel makes marquee signings in terms of clients, and becomes a leading presence in the global satellite surveillance, imaging and data analytics space.

Agnikul Cosmos

While Skyroot became the first startup to launch a private rocket from India, Agnikul is expected to soon launch India’s first private spaceflight that reaches the orbit (Skyroot’s launch was sub-orbital, meaning that while it flew to space, it did not reach the Earth’s orbit). This makes it one of two key Indian space startups that are vying to rival the likes of France’s Arianespace and USA’s SpaceX to become regular commercial satellite launchers.

Agnikul also became the first space start-up to open its own ground station and mission control room in ISRO's premises. Further, in July this year, Agnikul also opened doors to its own rocket engine manufacturing facility. At the moment, it remains the only private start-up with its own assembly chain to make its robots — and not need to partner with a vendor.

As a result, it could be one of the most important space startups to watch next year, as Agnikul launches its first orbital spaceflight with its indigenously built rocket, Agnibaan.

Dhruva Space

The Hyderabad-headquartered startup is one of only three private startups in India to have flown at least one of its satellites or launchers to space (alongside Pixxel and Skyroot). So far, Dhruva Space has made two launches, in which it has launched tech demonstrator satellites that can prove its capability as a contract manufacturer for satellites.

Talking to Mint in November this year, Chaitanya Dora, chief financial officer at Dhruva Space, said that the company is in talks to raise a funding round in the first half of 2023 — which it will use to build its own, large-scale satellite manufacturing facility. This could establish Dhruva as India’s first space startup with its own white label satellite-making assembly line, next year.

Naturally, this makes Dhruva an interesting startup to watch in 2023.

Bellatrix Aerospace

Arguably the ‘quietest’ of the top space startups in India, 2023 could be a major year for Bangalore-based Bellatrix Aerospace. In November this year, the startup announced that it is building a new facility, where it will test and prototype development of satellite thrusters — small engines that would help satellites align themselves, and reach their intended orbits.

The $76 million facility, spread across five acres, could establish Bellatrix Aerospace as a key private space startup that would offer components and peripheral services commercially by 2023. By 2024, Yashas Karanam, cofounder of the startup, told Mint earlier this year that it plans to launch the first phase of its ‘space taxis’ — space shuttles that can transfer satellites from one orbit to another, in a bid to make satellite launches even more affordable.

While most of its services are yet to be launched, 2023 could be a milestone year for Bellatrix.

A Task Force for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, Comics and Extended Reality (AVGC-XR) has presented its report to Union minister of information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur, making a strong pitch for growth in the sector.

The report recommends a National AVGC-XR Mission with a budget outlay to be created for integrated promotion and growth and the launch of a ‘Create in India’ campaign with focus on content creation in India, for the country and the rest of the world. It asks to institute an international AVGC platform, along with a Gaming Expo with focus on FDI (foreign direct investment), co-production treaties and innovation. A National Centre of Excellence (COE) for the AVGC sector should be established for skilling, education, industry development and research and innovation for the AVGC sector. Regional COEs will be instituted in collaboration with the state governments to provide access to local industries and to promote local talent and content.

There should be dedicated AVGC course content at school levels, to build foundational skills and to create awareness about AVGC as a career choice. AVGC focused under-graduate and post-graduate courses with standard curriculum and globally recognized degrees should be launched.

AVGC technologies should be democratized by promoting subscription-based pricing models for MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises), start-ups and institutions. There should be enhanced ease of doing business in the AVGC sector including tax benefits, import duties, curbing piracy, and so on. Start-Up India should be leveraged to provide technical, financial and market access assistance to AVGC entrepreneurs to promote a culture of research and development and local IP creation.

A dedicated Production Fund should be established for domestic content creation across India to promote Indian culture and heritage globally. To ensure inclusivity, target skilling and industry outreach should be carried out for youth in tier-two and three towns and villages in India. Special incentives should be established for women entrepreneurs in AVGC sector.

“With the momentum that the AVGC industry has gained in the current times, it has become imperative to develop a support ecosystem for the industry at large, to facilitate its growth. To boost our domestic capacity and develop the opportunity landscape, we must explore collaborations in academia, co-production, technology, policy and research and leverage the existing industry expertise to guide the sector,” Apurva Chandra, secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting said in the report.