In-space propulsion startup Bellatrix Aerospace raises $8M in funding

Bengaluru-based in-space propulsion startup Bellatrix Aerospace has raised $8 million or Rs 62 crore in a Series A funding round led by BASF Venture Capital GmbH, the corporate venture company of BASF SE, and early-stage VC Inflexor Ventures.

The round also saw participation from StartupXseedPavestone CapitalMankind Pharma Family Office, Survam Partners, Karsemven Fund, and other prominent family offices and angel investors. 

Speaking on the development, Rohan M Ganapathy, CEO & CTO of Bellatrix Aerospace, said, “We are elated to onboard new investors on our journey to become a key player in the global space-technology industry. pre-Series-A funding helped us successfully complete the development of numerous critical technologies in-house.”

Founded in 2015 by Rohan Ganapathy and Yashas Karanam, Bellatrix Aerospace is a full-suite solution provider of in-space propulsion systems offering both chemical and electric propulsion technologies.

The startup has established a large research facility at SID-IISc for building technologies for satellite propulsion and developed a strong IP portfolio around technologies that redefine in-space mobility. It has also developed the world’s first commercial Microwave Plasma Thruster, which used water as fuel and received an order from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Bellatrix Aerospace says its High-Performance Green Propulsion system uses a proprietary high-performance fuel and catalyst that the company claims to be eco-friendly and easier to handle than conventionally used fuels for satellite propulsion systems.

With this round of funding, the Bengaluru-based startup will focus on the development and testing of its 4 thruster models and go to market by the end of the year with its technology.

The funds will also be used towards the company’s evolution into a full-fledged space transportation technology company with its unique Orbital Transfer Vehicle with capabilities to deploy customer satellites to their orbits quickly as well as perform missions to the geostationary orbit (GEO) and beyond, it said.

“With this investment, we will be expanding our product portfolio, adding to our existing talent pool to broaden our expertise, augment our state-of-the-art infrastructure and focus on validation of our products in space,” Rohan adds.

Bellatrix has bagged contracts from the Indian Space Research Organisation and other undisclosed customers. The space qualification testing is expected to be completed in the coming months.

Speaking on the development, Venkat Vallabhaneni, Managing Partner, Inflexor Ventures, said: “Inflexor has always taken a keen interest in technological advancements affecting the space sector, and this is evident from our investment in Bellatrix from our first fund, right from their seed round. We see the space industry is growing exponentially, and Bellatrix’s products will play a major part in democratising access to the space industry with their cost-effective and power-efficient thruster systems, ideal for small satellite manufacturers.”

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