WASHINGTON — An Indian startup has raised $10 million to start development of commercial space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities that will include data from spacecraft.
Bengaluru-based Digantara announced June 20 it raised the funding in a Series A1 round led by Peak XV Partners, a venture fund until recently known as Sequoia Capital India. Several other investors participated, including Kalaari Capital, which provided the company with $2.5 million in seed capital in 2021.
Digantara is developing a system called the Space Mission Assurance Platform, or Space-MAP, to collect and analyze SSA data. Anirudh Sharma, co-founder and chief executive of Digantara, told SpaceNews that the system currently uses data “from select agencies and commercial companies” that it analyzes to identify potential collision risks. The company is also establishing a groundbased optical SSA observatory in India.
He said the company plans to use much of the new funding round to start work on smallsats equipped with electro-optical sensors to collect SSA data. The satellites, a combination of 6U and 12U cubesats, will be procured from an unnamed vendor, with Digantara developing the payloads.
The first phase of that effort involves eight cubesats placed in low Earth orbits with high densities of objects. “These satellites will enhance our data collection capabilities and strengthen our Space Mission Assurance Platform,” he said. “These missions will enable us to further validate and demonstrate the effectiveness of our technology and services.”
The funding will also support advancing the Space-MAP system itself. Sharma said the company is looking at other sources of data, including from star trackers on other spacecraft, to augment the platform.
“The team at Digantara is working towards creating the most advanced SSA data collection infrastructure. We believe that this will lead to significant capability in the life cycle of managing satellites,” said Shailesh Lakhani, managing director of Peak XV Partners, in a statement about its investment in Digantara.
Sharma said the 30-person company is already talking to investors about its next funding round, which he expects to raise within the next 15 months to support its “go-to-market strategy” and expansion plans. He did not disclose how much he is looking to raise in that future round.