Nearly three weeks after the announcement of the Indian Space Policy, 2023, nine-month-old Mumbai-headquartered spacetech start-up InspeCity has raised $1.5 million (Rs 12.28 crore) as part of its larger plans to develop a city in the low earth orbit (LEO) between the Earth and the Moon.
The company will be utilising the money raised to develop appropriate technologies for building the proposed city using autonomous robotic platforms, an in-house tech stack and talent acquisition. Besides, the fleet of robotic platforms called Vehicles for life-Extension and Deorbiting Activities (VEDA), which will come equipped with Robotically Inserted Guidance systems (RIG), will have a dual use as orbital workshops to service satellites nearing the end of their life cycle as well as aid in the removal of space debris.
These capabilities will allow InspeCity to undertake the manipulation and machining of larger structures or factories in space to eventually build the space city.
The pre-seed funding round was led by the deep-tech venture capitalist firm Speciale Invest and co-led by Antler India and Veda VC. Anicut Capital, DeVC India, PointOne Capital were among the other notable investors who participated in fundraising.
“This [investment] will tremendously help us further develop our technology for in-orbit servicing and autonomous robotic platforms. Our vision is to create a new economy in space and build human habitats that transcend the limitations of our current planetary systems,” said Arindrajit Chowdhury, co-founder & CEO, InspeCity. Chowdhury is also part of the faculty at IIT-Bombay.
“The company’s innovative technology, particularly its autonomous robotic platforms and in-orbit servicing capabilities, holds promise for the future of space exploration and development. We have immense confidence in InspeCity’s ability to achieve its goals!” observed Vishesh Rajaram, Managing Partner at the Chennai-based Speciale Invest.
Founded in August 2022, InspeCity aims to emerge as a leading player in the growing global space economy by offering cutting-edge technology for non-GEO satellite constellations in the coming years.
In-orbit servicing and manufacturing (IOSM) revenues are expected to reach $14.3 billion by 2031, with life extensions alone contributing $4.7 billion, according to a study by satellite and space market research and consulting firm Northern Sky Research.
InspeCity had earlier received Rs 1.5 crore in a grant from the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) platform of the Ministry of Defence for the development of micro propulsion systems for cubesats. It has also received a grant of Rs 10 lakh from the Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) Foundation at IIT Bombay for technological support to develop an inter-satellite link.