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BANGALORE: Bengaluru-based Space start-up Bellatrix Aerospace, on Saturday opened a new facility that would expedite its prototyping and rolling out of new models, supplementing their testing lab incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

This facility is part of the company’s expansion plans that will also see a $76-million manufacturing facility come up near the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) by the end of next year. The STOI was the first to report that Bellatrix signed an MoU regarding this facility ($76-mn factory) with the state government.

Elaborating on the new facility, which was inaugurated by ISRO chairman S Somanath, Yashas Karanam, co-founder, Bellatrix, told STOI: “This facility, among other things will be used for rapid prototyping and fabrication, enabling us to roll out more models quickly. It will augment our existing lab at IISc where we’ve been testing all our systems and technologies so far.”

Somanath, who visited the firm’s IISc lab before inaugurating the new facility, expressed confidence that private sector firms like Bellatrix could address some key challenges in the Space sector and complement ISRO.

The new facility already houses a metal 3D printer, while another key machine is expected to be installed in the coming weeks. This is seen as the first step of the firm’s expansion from an incubation at IISc to becoming a full-fledged spacetech company.

The next facility, as reported earlier, would be a research and development (R&D) centre and manufacturing factory for space taxis (orbital transfer vehicles or OTVs) and propulsion systems for rockets and satellites. This is expected to begin the first phase of operations on a five-acre facility at the aerospace park near KIA by late 2023. The new facility, which once fully operational is expected to be worth $76 million (around Rs 630 crore).

“Having a wide range of thrusters designed to overcome challenges associated with incumbent technologies by providing better performance, longer life and reduced costs and better lead times, we now aim to gear up for large scale production with advanced manufacturing and research facilities,” Karanam had said earlier.

The firm said it plans to set up its 2.1-lakh-sq ft space factory to meet its global demand with a capacity to manufacture several thousand propulsion systems every year, in addition to the state-of-the-art facility to manufacture its OTVs.

The facility is set to generate high-tech jobs in Bengaluru both for R&D (scientists) and production. “Overall, over the next three-four years, we are looking at around 350-400 jobs at this facility. We should be able to begin operations as part of our first phase implementation of the project in the second half of 2023,” Karanam had said.

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