ABA First Runner (AFR), the satellite that will launch aboard the SpaceX rocket, weighs 80 kilograms and hosts an optical remote sensing payload. Azista BST Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. (ABA) is a joint venture between Azista Industries Pvt. Ltd. and Berlin Space Technologies GmbH

Ahmedabad-based Azista BST Aerospace is set to launch its first satellite, ABA First Runner (AFR), aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this month. The launch comes at a time when the Indian space tech ecosystem is experiencing rapid growth, thanks to the approval of the Indian Space Policy and increased interest from foreign venture capitalists.

Azista BST Aerospace (ABA) is a joint venture between Azista Industries Pvt. Ltd. and Berlin Space Technologies GmbH. ABA owns and operates a 50,000-square-foot factory in Ahmedabad, India, where it manufactures small satellites.

The ABA First Runner (AFR) is an 80-kilogram satellite and has an optical remote sensing payload with both panchromatic and multispectral imaging capabilities.

AFR claims to be the first satellite of its size and performance built by the private space industry in India that is capable of supporting a variety of critical applications for civilian and defence purposes. Moneycontrol was unable to independently verify the claims.

The ABA's Managing Director Srinivas Reddy Male said, "The launch of AFR marks an exciting beginning to support the realization of satellite constellations for various applications. Our factory in Ahmedabad is already geared up to produce 10 of these satellites in 2024."

Director Sunil Indurti stated, "Azista BST Aerospace invites researchers and organizations interested in exploring the use of fresh satellite data for various geospatial applications to get in touch with us and take advantage of this exciting opportunity."

Azista BST Aerospace is already in the process of realising the next set of satellites to demonstrate its capabilities with payloads with its modular satellite buses, a release said. Several of these satellites will be launched within the next 12-24 months, it said in a press release.

On April 20, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), released the Indian Space Policy after the Cabinet approved it.

In it, the government specifically lays down the role of several government bodies, such as the ISRO and the Department of Space, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) apart from specifying the role of non-governmental entities (NGEs) — a term for private players in the space sector — will play in India’s space ecosystem.

Space tech start-ups have lauded the policy for providing the necessary flexibility for boosting private players in the segment, removing "bureaucratic hurdles" by making the Indian Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) the regulatory authority for the space sector, and clearly demarcating the responsibilities between various bodies under the Department of Space.