Major success story of India’s – Space, R&D, Start-ups Sectors


India’s space program stands out as one of the most cost-effective in the world. India has earned worldwide recognition for launching lunar probes, building satellites, ferrying foreign satellites up and has even succeeded in reaching Mars. Since June 2020, when Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a push for the space sector, opening it up to all kinds of private enterprise, India has launched a network of businesses, each driven by original research and home grown talent. In a major boost to the Indian space industry, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, announced $36 million of investment in Bengaluru-based space startup, Pixxel. Notably, this is the first major investment in the Indian space sector after the privatisation policy of the Indian government in April.

The approval of Indian Space Policy 2023 has given a major impetus to the Indian private space industry, by making it a lucrative investment option for investors. The reforms will be implemented by a new nodal agency, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe). ISRO’s commercial activities will be delegated to government-owned units—New Space India Ltd. (NSIL) and Antrix.


Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface. It consists of Lander and Rover configuration. It will be launched by LVM3 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. The mission began on July 14 2023 with a launch aboard LVM3 rocket, the country’s heavy lift vehicle capable of placing about 8 metric tons into low-Earth orbit. The propulsion module will carry the lander and rover configuration till 100 km lunar orbit. The propulsion module has Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload to study the spectral and Polari metric measurements of Earth from the lunar orbit. On August 1, ISRO performed the Trans Lunar Injection (TLI) to slingshot Chandrayaan-3 towards the moon and spacecraft’s perigee successfully raised its orbit to 288km x 369328 km, positioning it to enter the Moon’s sphere of influence by August 4, 2023.

Chandrayaan-3 consists of a lander module (LM), a propulsion module (PM), and a rover. The PM and LM separation is scheduled to take place on August 17.The main function of PM is to carry the LM from launch vehicle injection till final lunar 100 km circular polar orbit and separate the LM from PM. Apart from this, the Propulsion Module also has one scientific payload as a value addition which will be operated post separation of Lander Module. The launcher identified for Chandrayaan-3 is GSLV-Mk3 which will place the integrated module in an Elliptic Parking Orbit (EPO) of size ~170 x 36500 km.

The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are:

  • To demonstrate Safe and Soft Landing on Lunar Surface
  • To demonstrate Rover roving on the moon and
  • To conduct in-situ scientific experiments. A series of de-boost manoeuvres is scheduled to take place before the power descent phase for soft-landing on the moon.

The lander is expected to touch down on the moon surface on August 23 at 5.47 p.m. IST.

 Research and Development

India’s spending on R&D is consistently increasing. It stood at ₹1,13,825.03 crore in 2017-18.Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), has initiated several schemes like SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)” has been designed exclusively for women scientists to take up R&D at the highest level; SERB-VAJRA targeting to bring best of global science and scientists to India including NRIs; State University Research Excellence (SERB-SURE) to create a robust R&D ecosystem in state universities and colleges; Fund for Industrial Research Engagement (SERB-FIRE) to support research and development to solve critical problems which are relevant to industries on a public private partnership mode. In addition, the SERB-Ramanujan Fellowship, SERB-Ramalingaswami re-entry Fellowship and SERB-Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty Scheme (VAJRA), etc., have been devised to promote brain gain by attracting bright researchers of Indian origin to work and contribute to STI ecosystem in India. The saffron bowl of India, has now spread its wings to parts of the North East through the focused efforts of the North East Centre for Technology Application & Reach (NECTAR).DST’s Investment into S&T system got more than doubled in last 8 years from about Rs 2900 Cr in 2014-15 to Rs 6002 Cr in 2022-23.Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has taken a decision to increase the number of Post-Doctoral Fellowships (PDFs) from 300 annually to 1000.

The Survey of India (SoI), a subordinate department under the Department of Science & Technology has embarked on a Pan-India geospatial mapping of the country at a very high resolution of 10 cm scale using most advanced technologies like drone technology. With this, India joins the select club of few nations to have Ultra High-resolution National Topographic Data as foundation data. The new Indian Space Policy, made public on April 20, 2023, has outlined that the Indian Space Research Organisation shall transition out from manufacturing operational space systems and focus its energies on research and development in advanced technologies.

The Indian research community will soon be able to pursue industry-relevant research opportunities in the areas of deep technologies that are novel, transformative, and can have a ground-breaking impact on a national scale. The opportunities will be offered by the first-of-its-kind research initiative called ‘Fund for Industrial Research Engagement (FIRE)’ launched by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, in collaboration with Intel India on June 29, 2021.


India ranks 3rd globally in terms of number of Start-ups (77,000) and in terms of number of UNICORNs (107) in the world. A national programme titled NIDHI (National Initiative for Developing & Harnessing Innovations) which addresses the entire value chain of Innovations has been launched. This has made some major impacts on India’s Innovation ecosystem by nurturing 3,681 start-ups through a network of 153 incubators created by DST, which generated 65,864 jobs as cumulative direct employment, created a wealth of Rs 27,262 crores and generated 1,992 intellectual properties.

The world has begun to acknowledge India’s capabilities and its potential in space technology, with the country home to 140 space start-ups.

CRED is the youngest Indian start-up to be valued at around $2.2 billion. This 2-year-old start-up has more than 6 million customers and about 22% of all credit card holders. Growwis another investing platform that allows its customers to invest in stocks, ETFs, Mutual funds, IPOs and more using its platform. The company raised $83 million in 2021 and entered into the Unicorn club.

Landeed, a top start-up working in the property management, insurance industry. This PropTech company is working to make it easier for people to verify their ownership of property. Since launching just last year in 2022, this Indian start-up has raised $10.8M in total funding. This was made across just two funding rounds and the most recent funding round took place on the 24th of January, 2023.

Toddle is an Edtech start-up that has created a platform for teachers to make collaboration more unified and easier within education. The platform provides teachers with one platform where they can access everything they need to plan, teach, and more.The total funding amount for Toddle sits at $17M. This money was raised in two funding rounds, the second of which took place on the 10th of January, 2023.

Zepto is another top start-up from India and is working in the apps market, providing its customers with a delivery service that is accessible via a digital platform.The top start-up has raised a rather impressive total funding amount of $360M since launching. This was made possible with the support of twelve investors across five funding rounds.

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