Spacetech startup Manastu Space developing an environmentally friendly micro satellite thruster and fuel combination has raised $3 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Indian Angel Network (IAN).
IAN investors such as KRS Jamwal, Executive Director of Tata Industries invested in his capacity, Jaideep Mehta, Sanjiv Bajaj, and Nitin Zamre, were active participants in this funding round.
Developing green propulsion systems for satellites
Founded in 2017 by Tushar Jadhav and Astesh Kumar, Manastu is developing green propulsion systems for satellites and hopes to validate its technology during a test flight in the coming year.
The startup is also designing a fuel station in space to provide in-orbit refuelling service for satellites that otherwise have to be abandoned after the on-board fuel is exhausted.
With this round of funding, Manastu Space said it would focus on developing green propulsion systems for satellites, ranging from 100 to 500 kg and will implement its eco-friendly propulsion system, and autonomous collision avoidance system, and further its R&D program.
Padmaja Ruparel, Co-Founder at India Angel Network, said, "Manastu Space brings a complementary product to the commercial space ecosystem of the country. As they build and grow, I am sure Manastu will find its place in the global space tech industry. With this investment, IAN has taken another step to support an innovative product led by passionate founders, in the best of the next sectors, emerging out of India"
Partnering with entities
The startup claims to have secured key contracts, including one with the Indian Defense. It also claims to have established partnerships with entities such as Latitude, a French startup, and recently formalized an agreement with iDEX, the Defense Innovation Organization.
Manastu provides complete propulsion systems to satellite manufacturers including fuel, engine, tank and accessories to satellite manufacturers.
With a 60% affordable propulsion system, customers can save as much as 30% cost per satellite or earn 30% more revenue due to increased payload while also saving their satellites from debris.
It also plans on providing in-space services like In-Space Refueling, life-extension and De-orbiting at the end of the life of the satellite to its customers as part of a product service ecosystem.
How Manastu's Green Propulsion System is beneficial?
According to Manastu's CTO Ashtesh Kumar, the Green Propulsion System is designed for satellites and will enhance manoeuvrability in space and safeguard them from potential collisions with space debris. The solution is indispensable in meeting the current and escalating demands for space sustainability, he said.
"We underscored the critical issue of space debris, which poses a significant threat to the future of space exploration. With over 160 million fragments of space debris hurtling through space at speeds of up to 8 km/s, the risk of collisions is substantial. Such collisions can generate even more debris, potentially triggering a chain reaction that could jeopardize the safe launch and operation of spacecraft in orbit. Manastu Space is also actively engaged in developing autonomous collision avoidance systems and satellite refueling capabilities in space. These advancements are designed to make satellites reusable, helping to ensure a sustainable and accessible space for future generations."
Filling the gap in current propulsion systems
Manastu Space said it will be filling the gap in the currently available propulsion systems that are either slow (electric propulsion), toxic and carcinogenic (hydrazine), or expensive (ADN and HAN propellants). This leaves a gap in the market for an agile, safe, efficient, and affordable propulsion system.
KRS Jamwal, Executive Director at Tata Industries, said, "The Manastu Founders are talented and focused scientists who have dedicated their career to space technology. Space represents a frontier of immense investment potential, and Manastu is solving a very real problem with an elegant and 1st in world solution in the field of propulsion systems. Overcrowding of orbits and environmental concerns can only be addressed by green propulsion systems usable by even micro-satellites."