The offices of Bellatrix Aerospace in Bengaluru may seem unassuming, especially when you are told that six young engineers here developed a water-powered, electric propulsion system for satellites. Indian Space Research Organisation has given the company a developmental order for this system. Bellatrix is also working with Hindusthan Institute of Technology, Coimbatore, to develop a micro-satellite that will be in orbit in the near future.
CEO Rohan Ganapathy, 25, says it all began the day he met Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, in the US in 2011: “I was still in college in Coimbatore, when I got an opportunity to attend a seminar organised by NASA. Aldrin told me that that there is huge scope in space exploration and technology, as a large part of space is still unexplored. Though I was always interested in space sciences, that day fixed my goal. I knew I had to do something unique in this field.”
Ganapathy says his second wave of inspiration also came from the US. When private firm SpaceX built its own rockets, he felt it could be done in India, too. “I knew that space projects are long term, require immense dedication, patience and, more than anything else, huge funds,” he said. Among his earliest mentors he counts Sajjan Jindal, chairman, JSW Group, Dr P.S. Goel, former director, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bengaluru, and Dr Ugur Guven, a renowned aerospace and nuclear engineer.