New Delhi, Jun 25: The Ministry of Defence will collaborate with a private firm working in the space sector for design and development of a "miniaturised satellite" capable of carrying multiple payloads up to 150 kg, officials said on Tuesday.

The collaboration will follow a contract inked with SpacePixxel Technologies.

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), the flagship initiative of the ministry, signed the landmark 350th contract here on Tuesday.

"The contract was inked with SpacePixxel Technologies Pvt Ltd for design and development of a miniaturised satellite capable of carrying electro-optical, infrared, synthetic aperture radar and hyperspectral payloads up to 150 kg," the defence ministry said in a statement.

The 150th iDEX contract was signed in December 2022, and within a span of 18 months, the 350th contract has been signed, it said.

The contract was exchanged between Additional Secretary (Defence Production) and CEO, Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), Anurag Bajpai, and founder and CEO of SpacePixxel Technologies Awais Ahmed Nadeem Alduri in the presence of Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and other senior civil and military officials of the ministry.

SpacePixxel has been actively working to build and launch high-resolution hyperspectral imaging satellites to provide detailed earth observation data, the statement said.

"This 350th iDEX contract enables innovation in space electronics, wherein many payloads earlier deployed on dedicated large satellites are now being miniaturised. The modular small satellite will integrate multiple miniaturised payloads as per requirement, providing advantages like faster and economical deployment, ease of manufacturing, scalability, adaptability and less environmental impact," it said.

In his address, the defence secretary appreciated the unwavering commitment of new defence innovators for pushing the boundaries of technology and safeguarding the nation.

Emphasising the importance of combining indigenisation with innovation, he said domestic capabilities provide a foundation for fostering innovation by offering a platform for experimentation and development.

Innovation fuels indigenisation by driving the creation of new technologies and solutions that can be produced domestically, the defence secretary said, assuring all possible support to the innovators at every step.

The ministry said iDEX, the recipient of the Prime Minister Award for Public Policy in Innovation Category in 2021, has emerged as a "game-changer in the defence ecosystem".

Established by the DIO under Department of Defence Production, iDEX has launched 11 editions of the Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC), and recently unveiled the Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX (ADITI) scheme to promote innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies.

"In a brief period, iDEX has successfully gained momentum, fostering a burgeoning community of start-ups within the defence sector. It is currently engaged with over 400 start-ups and MSMEs.

"Till now, procurement of 35 items, worth over Rs 2,000 crore, has been cleared. iDEX has facilitated the creation of numerous job opportunities and played a pivotal role in the development of the defence ecosystem," it added. PTI