Indian space start-up gets French contract 

M Ramesh | | Updated on: May 17, 2022
Manastu Space was created about four years ago by two alumni of IIT Bombay

Manastu Space was created about four years ago by two alumni of IIT Bombay

Mumbai-based Manastu Space will help develop propulsion system for French company Venture Orbital Systems

Manastu Space, a Mumbai-based start-up that manufactures propulsion systems for rockets, has secured a contract from a French company called Venture Orbital Systems.  

Manastu Space was created about four years ago by two alumni of IIT Bombay, Tushar Jadhav and Astesh Kumar. The company has developed a green, hydrogen peroxide-based rocket fuel, to replace the toxic and less-efficient, conventional hydrazine-based fuels, as well as a propulsion system using the green fuel. The company is also gearing itself to offeri in-space re-fuelling services and debris avoidance systems for satellites. 

Romann Heurlin, launcher mission analysis engineer at Venture Orbital System, has said in a LinkedIn post that Venture Orbital and Manastu have teamed up “for the development and supply of a fully integrated auxiliary propulsion system for our micro launcher, Zephyr.” 

Heurlin further states that “the green-propellant propulsion system will enable Zephyr to perform in-orbit manoeuvres and attitude control to deliver our nanosatellites clients to their desired orbital parameters with prevision and reliability.” 

Emerging areas of business

As the world moves towards employing tens of thousands of rockets for various purposes, such as provision of satellite broadband and taking pictures of farm lands, several rocket companies have emerged to send the satellites up into space. Venture Orbital is one of them. Unlike Elon Musk’s celebrated SpaceX’s rockets, the rockets of companies like Venture Orbital are typically small, meant to carry small payloads. For instance, Venture Orbital’s two-stage Zephyr rocket is meant to carry satellites weighing 80 kg to a height of 600 km above the earth. Also, the engines of most of these rockets, including Zephyr’s, are 3D printed.  

Providing green fuels, propulsion systems, helping satellites dodge space debris and re-fuelling the satellites in space are all emerging areas of business for start-ups like Manastu. 

The deal with the French company is Manastu’s second deal with any international company. BusinessLine reported on February 27 that a UK-headquartered company called Black Arrow Space Technologies had signed an MoU with Manastu to “mutually obtain capabilities and assistance” to develop hardware, software, data and operating strategies.” In simpler terms, the deal will translate into orders for Manastu’s propulsion systems to be used in the upper stage of Black Arrow’s rockets.  

Also, the Indian defence research body, DRDO, has placed an order for Manastu’s propulsion systems and has provided some funding for executing the order. 

Published on May 17, 2022
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