Defence Ministry signs 350th iDEX contract with SpacePixxel Technologies for miniature satellite development

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Defence Ministry signs 350th iDEX contract with SpacePixxel Technologies for miniature satellite development

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The Ministry of Defence has marked a significant milestone by signing its 350th iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) contract with SpacePixxel Technologies Pvt Ltd. This contract focuses on the development of a miniature observation and imaging satellite specifically designed for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The initiative aims to push the boundaries of space electronics by miniaturizing payloads that were previously only deployable on large satellites.

Advancements in Miniaturised Satellites

The newly developed miniature satellite will be capable of carrying a range of payloads, including electro-optical, infrared, synthetic aperture radar, and hyperspectral sensors, all within a compact structure weighing up to 150 kg. “This 350th iDEX contract enables innovation in space electronics, wherein many payloads earlier deployed on dedicated large satellites are now being miniaturised,” stated a Ministry of Defence official. The small, modular satellite offers multiple advantages such as faster and more economical deployment, ease of manufacturing, scalability, adaptability, and a reduced environmental impact.

SpacePixxel’s Role and Vision

SpacePixxel Technologies has been at the forefront of developing high-resolution hyperspectral imaging satellites, providing detailed Earth observation data. The contract was officially exchanged between Anurag Bajpai, Additional Secretary (Defence Production) & CEO of the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), and Awais Ahmed Nadeem Alduri, Founder and CEO of SpacePixxel Technologies. This partnership underscores SpacePixxel’s commitment to advancing space technology and its vision for innovative satellite solutions.

Rapid Progress in Defence Innovation

The Ministry of Defence has made rapid strides in defence innovation, achieving this milestone within just 18 months of signing the 150th iDEX contract in December 2022. Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane praised the dedication of new defence innovators and emphasized the Ministry’s ongoing support for their efforts. “The unwavering commitment of new defence innovators is pushing the boundaries of technology and safeguarding the nation. We assure them of all possible support,” he remarked.

Promoting Defence Technology Innovations

iDEX, established by the DIO under the Department of Defence Production, is a flagship initiative aimed at fostering innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace. It engages a diverse range of stakeholders, including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes, and academia, to promote a collaborative approach to innovation and entrepreneurship in the defence sector.

To date, the iDEX initiative has launched 11 editions of the Defence India Start-up Challenge and recently unveiled the Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX (ADITI) scheme to further promote innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies. The procurement of 35 items, worth over ₹2,000 crore, has already been cleared under iDEX. The initiative received the Prime Minister Award for Public Policy in the Innovation Category in 2021 and continues to engage with over 400 start-ups and MSMEs.

Conclusion

The signing of the 350th iDEX contract with SpacePixxel Technologies signifies a major leap forward in India’s defence and space technology capabilities. This collaboration not only underscores the country’s commitment to innovation but also highlights the strategic importance of miniature satellite technology in enhancing national security and defence preparedness. As iDEX continues to foster a culture of innovation and technological excellence, the future of India’s defence capabilities looks increasingly promising.

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