“Chandrayan is the most complex mission ISRO has ever taken. To ensure that it becomes successful in future the experts have to come together again and put together a fail-proof plan of execution” this was the statement by ISRO Chief K Sivan. As simple as it sounds, there are immense challenges ISRO organization, ISRO team, ISRO partners will have to go through to make this a reality. Kudos to their effort and passion for constantly pushing the envelope.

At IESA SPACETRONICS & DEFTRONICS 2019 on September 19 & 20, 2019 at Taj Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru – Startups, Leading players in MSME & Enterprises along with academia who are working relentlessly in Space and Defence, all gathered to celebrate together the efforts and achievements made in India Space and Defence programs. The theme for this event was Intelligent Electronics: The new frontier securing our Land and Space.

India’s space program has hit unprecedented levels with the number of ISRO’s missions going up by three times now. As the IESA team reflected, the best part of the event was when during this event the home-grown entrepreneurs and start-ups in India came together to target Space like never before.

“Start-ups in the area could also help in capturing some part of the market in and outside the country and organizations such as the IESA have a role to play here”, said Dr. A.S. Kiran Kumar, former chairman of ISRO, speaking at the IESA SPACETRONICS & DEFTRONICS 2019 summit.

As a start-up, working proactively in the domain of artificial intelligence in defence and space, it was a proud and welcoming moment for Aindra Labs to hear esteemed delegates from Indian space program talking about the magnitude of challenges and opportunities which is staring at the Tech and Electronics ecosystem where Indian MSME, Hardware & Tech-startups, Electronics player can jointly work together to proactively bring the key hardware, software, and equipment required by likes of ISRO, HAL, DRDO etc for which, as of today, they are partially yet critically dependent on foreign companies.

The best part, in my humble opinion, was when these delegates emphasized the importance of a consortia-led approach for MSME and startups to strike strategic partnerships with likes of HAL, BEL and other respectful PSUs to pursue these challenges. What really motivated the Start-Ups and further underscored this point was when the likes of DRDO and HAL, themselves expressed their openness to establish a partnership, offer grants, receive suggestions for Expression of Interests (EOI) or get into a commercial engagement for various problem statements which they have already put live on their respective official websites.

Highest regards to our honorable space & defence officers, executives and government officials who are expressing the paradigm shift in their mindset like never before to ensure that the dependency on the international suppliers should be significantly reduced and we should become more self-reliant than ever before.

Aindra Labs Co-Founder Abhishek Mishra(at right) with Vijetha Executive Director of TiE Bangalore(at center)

Speaking at the summit, Jitendra Chaddah, Senior Director – Operations and Strategy & Chairman, IESA, said, “The purpose of an event such as this one is to make electronics in space and defence intelligent. While electronics will make up nearly half of space and defence needs in the next decade or so, this is a challenge for the electronics and semiconductor industries, but carries huge opportunity.”

Other speakers on the opening day outlined the promise of India’s space program, the need to attract young talent towards space, encouraged by the fact that as many as 30 start-ups including Aindra Labs were demonstrating their products during this meet.

ISRO Mobil Museum

Also during the second day( Deftronics Day) of this event, Dr. Tessy Thomas, the first woman scientist to head a missile project in India and now the Director-General of Aeronautical Systems at DRDO, said “India needs to possess indigenous chip-level strengths if only for strategic reasons. Besides, the country needs to cut its dependence on electronic imports, while devising research and development-led innovation at an industry level, in order to possess intrinsically sound defence preparedness.”

The prestigious IESA SPACETRONICS & DEFTRONICS 2019 Awards was given out in the presence of Chief Guests Dr. C N Ashwath Narayan, Deputy CM and Minister for Health, Information Technology, Biotechnology, and Science & Technology, Govt of Karnataka, Dr. E V Ramana Reddy, Addl. Chief Secretary to Govt., Department of IT, BT, S & T, Govt. of Karnataka and Guest of Honor  H. E. Dana Kursh, Consul General of Israel to South India. Dr. K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, was bestowed with Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Award – A Lifetime Achievement for his contributions to science & technology in the field of space exploration.

During this ceremony, Dr. E V Ramana Reddy, made an announcement of adding the “Electronics” to the current IT & BT department, post-IESA’s recommendation which is a major push for the Electronics & Semiconductor ecosystem in the State. With this impetus, the electronics sector in India is bound to leapfrog to a different orbit.

The award winners of other categories were:

  • Best Product Design Company in Space Technology – Indian/MNC: Centum Electronics
  • Best Product Design Company in Space Technology – MSME Indian Company: Captronic Systems
  • Most Promising Start-up of the year in Space Technology: Exceed Space and Green IP Core
  • Best Electronics Manufacturing Company in Aerospace & Defence – Indian/ MNC: TE Connectivity
  • Best Electronics Manufacturing Company in Aerospace & Defence MSME – Indian Company: Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems
  • Best Product Design Company in Aerospace & Defence – Indian/MNC: HCL Technologies
  • Best Product Design Company in Aerospace & Defence – MSME Indian Company: Aidin Technologies
  • Best Product Design Company in Aerospace & Defence – MSME Indian Company: Lekha Wireless Solutions
  • Most Promising Start-up of the year in Aerospace & Defence: Combat Robotics India and CATS-Global

The summit also showcased an exclusive ISRO Mobile Museum which was a huge attraction and it was appreciated by all. Miniatures of the space products on display were icing on the cake.