Partnering with Digantara: Making Space Safer with Next-Level Object Mapping
Peak XV Partners is thrilled to join Digantara’s team of new-age space cartographers on their journey and lead their Series A round.
Shivam Kumar, Sidhant Goyal, and Shailesh Lakhani
Published June 19, 2023
The growing cloud of debris orbiting Earth poses a massive risk to the global space economy.
There are about 4,700 functional satellites in orbit, another 3,000 that are entirely defunct, and a massive number of fragments – from upper-stage rocket bodies to small shards just a few centimetres wide – zipping around earth at over 27,000 kilometres per hour. At speeds like this, even a tiny piece of space debris can wreak serious damage to satellites and spacecraft.
The number of satellites in orbit, meanwhile, is likely to grow tenfold this decade alone. Going into space was always hard; dodging a veritable hail of man-made bullets makes it even more so.
In 2021 we first met Anirudh Sharma, Rahul Rawat, and Tanveer Ahmed, the founders of Digantara, after doing a scan of India’s space sector. At that point the team, who had just graduated from university, planned to launch a constellation of satellites to track objects as small as 1 cm and create the world’s largest catalogue of man-made objects in space. The network of ground-based radars used today can only track objects larger than 10 cm. The European Space Agency estimates there are one million objects in orbit right now that are in the 1 cm to 10 cm range. Digantara’s elevator pitch: a next-level ‘Google Maps’ for space. We were excited about their work, and kept in touch.
In the last two years, they’ve made incredible progress. Digantara has launched two satellites to monitor space weather and radiation, and has begun construction of India’s first commercial Situational Space Awareness optical observatory in Uttarakhand. They’ve built a team of 30, including engineers and PhD’s with backgrounds in astrodynamics, photonics, and space weather. What’s equally impressive is how this dynamic young team found a seat at the table through sheer hard work and passion.
We got a chance to observe this first hand at the recent International Academy of Astronautics’ Space Situational Awareness conference in Bangalore, where the Digantara team was actively sought after by the top national space agencies and private players from across the globe. Digantara is now working closely with the Indian, US, Korean, and Singapore space agencies, and are contributing actively on sustainable space environment policy and regulation worldwide.
India ranks among the top five spacefaring nations of the world in terms of technological capabilities, and is globally recognized for building high-quality, low-cost satellites and launch vehicles. The potential for innovative space applications is immense, and we believe Indian technology and innovation will play a critical role in shaping the world’s space economy.
The team at Peak XV Partners is thrilled to support Anirudh, Rahul, Tanveer and the rest of the Digantara team in their mission by leading their Series A round. Digantara has a solid shot at building the world’s first space-based system for tracking objects in orbit, making space safer at a critical juncture for this fast-changing industry. We are excited to join this intrepid team of new-age space cartographers on their journey.