Pixxel, a hyperspectral earth-imaging technology startup, has signed a deal with the ministry of defence to build hyperspectral satellites for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to surveil borders and detect illegal activities.

Pixxel was awarded the first ever iDEX Prime (Space) Satellite Grant under the Mission DefSpace Challenge. Pixxel will develop miniaturized multi-payload satellites for the IAF. More details of the contract have not been disclosed.

Under iDEX—innovations for defense excellence—SPARK grants are offered to startups selected through Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) initiatives to catalyze open innovation and enable Indian innovators to deliver technologically advanced solutions to the military.

The contract was signed between Awais Ahmed, chief executive of Pixxel, and Anurag Bajpai, additional secretary (defence production) and CEO of IDEX-DIO, in the presence of defense secretary Giridhar Aramane.

“The iDEX Prime Space grant received by Pixxel is the first-of-its-kind grant for satellites. We are honored to receive this support,” Ahmed said.

Pixel will build small satellites of up to 150kg for electro-optical, infrared, Synthetic Aperture Radar, and Hyperspectral purposes.

Pixxel is scheduled to launch six commercial-grade hyperspectral satellites named Fireflies this year.

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