Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), the flagship initiative of the Ministry of Defence, has signed its 250th contract, a first under Mission DefSpace, with InspeCity for developing a gas-based system for micro propulsion of CubeSat which is a class of miniaturised satellites.

Besides this, another contract was signed with Siliconia Technologies Pvt Ltd for the development of a prototype that provides multiple independent receiver and transmitter sources essential in phased-array radars used in satellite tracking, said the Ministry of Defence.

The company won the challenge of ‘Micropropulsion system for CubeSats’ by offering the technology, which once developed can be integrated with other satellites, including the CubeSat swarm being developed under Mission DefSpace, said the Ministry on Monday.

What are CubeSats

CubeSats are a class of small satellites — which are modular, low-cost, easy to manufacture, integrate, and launch — and form a critical component for launch-on-demand capabilities.

For imagery, intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance and communication purposes, CubeSat need to be precisely aligned, hence there is a requirement for a compact micro propulsion system for precise manoeuvring and orbit correction, the Ministry explained.

Recognising the strategic significance of the space domain, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Mission DefSpace with 75 Defence Space Challenges to be addressed by the private sector during DefExpo at Gandhinagar in October 2022.

It aims to nurture the Indian private space industry through challenges addressing every stage of a space mission from mission planning to satellite data analytics, said the Ministry

The 100th SPRINT (Navy) contract was exchanged between Additional Secretary (Defence Production) & CEO T Natarajan and CEO of Siliconia Technologies Sushil Eknath Ghule.

The Ministry said that Siliconia emerged as the winner of the challenge which envisaged the development of a prototype that is a lightweight ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) based communication system using software-defined antenna for Low Earth Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit, and Geostationary satellite communication.

Pat for iDEX

In his address at the event, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane exuded confidence that the iDEX will help India become the biggest defence innovation ecosystem in the world in the times to come.

He also appreciated the continuous efforts and support from all the stakeholders, including the services, start-ups, partner incubators, and the iDEX team in reaching the milestone.