India Earth Observation Satellite Startup Raises almost 5 Million dollars in 2 Years
On August 19th, Pixxel , a Bangalore-based startup in India , announced that it has raised $530 million in a seed round.
The investment was led by Indian venture capital firms Lightspeed India Partners, Blume Ventures and growX ventures.
The company was founded in 2018 when Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal were in college, and the two are CEO and CTO respectively. Aiming to build a small satellite constellation of 30 aircraft, we are aiming for a launch on the Soyuz rocket in the latter half of 2020, and if successful, it will be the first earth observation satellite for a private enterprise in India.
Pixxel has raised about 700,000 yen from accelerator Techstars in 2019 as a pre-seeding round. Techstars was founded in 2006 by US serial entrepreneur David Cohen and has funded more than 2,000 companies.
Pixxel is one of the participating companies of the Starburst Space Accelerator accelerator program held by Techstars in Los Angeles in 2019 . In 2019, there are 10 participating companies, including Orbit fab, which aims to implement a “space gas station plan” that fills satellite fuel in orbit, and Hydrosat, who specializes in thermal infrared satellite image analysis.
It was space-related organizations and companies such as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, etc. are participating in the program as sponsors and mentors.
Ken Sunshine, a mentor for the program and CFO of Virgin Galactic and Moon Express, has joined Pixxel as an advisor since 2019.
This year’s Starburst Space Accelerator will be recruited until March 2020, with a three-month program starting in June and a demo scheduled for September. This year’s 10 participating companies are Bifrost, Holos, Infinite Composites Technologies, Lux Semiconductors, Natural Intelligence Systems, Prewitt Ridge, SATIM Inc., Urban Sky, vRotors and WeavAir.
China Satellites releases semi-annual financial figures
China Satellite (600118, SH), a listed company mainly engaged in aerospace manufacturing and satellite applications, released a semi-annual performance report. In the first half of 2020, due to the comprehensive impact of the market environment and the epidemic, China Satellite’s net profit attributable to shareholders was approximately 149 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 21.18%; operating income was approximately 2.733 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 12.94%, profit per share was RMB 0.13, a year-on-year decrease of 18.75%.
Chinese alternative to GPS
The Pakistani military uses China’s Beidou navigation system to improve its combat effectiveness. This is part of China-Pakistan national defense and strategic cooperation. Sources said that China hopes to end the GPS hegemony of the United States and first promote its own navigation system in Asia.
The China Satellite Navigation Office (CSNO) has agreed to establish a continuous operation radar station (CORS) network in Pakistan that uses the Beidou system. It will help Pakistan obtain precise geospatial data, especially in the fields of surveying and mapping, construction and scientific research. China has established a monitoring station at the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Council (SUPARCO) to monitor and evaluate the Beidou Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The Beidou system was completed on August 3rd this year.
The last launch of the Beidou satellite was completed on June 23 this year. The project was finally completed after more than 20 years of initiation. China began to develop the system in the 1990s and launched the first satellite in 2000, thus beginning this continuous journey.
As Pakistan purchases Chinese defense equipment, it will be transferred to and fully integrated into the Beidou system. According to sources, the Pakistan Armed Forces will gradually convert all their key military platforms to the Beidou navigation system.
Pakistan is purchasing large amounts of defense equipment from China and deploying them along the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir. Whether it is armored vehicles, air defense systems, artillery, drones, ships, submarines or fighter jets, Pakistan buys them from China.
According to the introduction of the Chinese space department, the Beidou navigation system has gone through three generations. A total of 55 satellites have been launched, including test satellites. The Beidou-3 system, which was finally completed on June 23 this year, consists of 24 medium-circle earth orbit satellites, 3 geostationary orbit satellites and 3 tilted geostationary orbit satellites, a total of 30 satellites. The positioning accuracy of Beidou-3 is within 10 meters and can cover the whole world. In addition to positioning and timing services, Beidou system can also provide SMS messaging services.
China successfully launched 3 satellites including Gaofen-9 05
At 10:27 on August 23, Beijing time, China used the Long March 2D carrier rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center to successfully put the Gaofen-9 05 satellite into the scheduled orbit. The launch was a success. The mission also carried and launched a multifunctional test satellite, Tiantuo-5 satellite.
Gaofen-9 05 is an optical remote sensing satellite with a ground pixel resolution of up to sub-meter level. It is mainly used for land surveys, urban planning, land right confirmation, road network design, crop yield estimation, and disaster prevention and mitigation. The satellite is to be used in “Belt and Road” construction projects.
The multi-functional test satellite launched on board is developed by the Academy of Military Sciences and will test and verify new technologies such as communications, navigation, and remote sensing in orbit. The Tiantuo-5 satellite is developed by the National University of Defense Technology and will test and verify new information collection technologies connecting with ships, aircraft, buoys and the Internet of Things in orbit.