May 1, 2023
Dr. Arindrajit Chowdhury is Betting on Building Cities in Space
IITKGPian Arindrajit Chowdhury (B.Tech/Mech/2003) completed his PhD from Penn State University in 2010 and took an assistant professor position at IIT Bombay. He is now a full professor in mechanical engineering. In 2022, Chowdhury and Tausif Shaikh, an IIT Bombay alumnus, established InspeCity, a startup that aims to establish “cities” or “factories” in space, where energy and resources will not be as constrained as on Earth.
According to their website, “InspeCity—pronounced ‘ɪn speɪs ˈsɪti’—came to life in mid-2022 with a simple dream of building a city up there in space, so that we don't fight over resources here on dear earth. Inspirations were drawn from O'Neill cylinders. With the Indian space ecosystem being cash-strapped in the near future, we are devoted to developing enabling technologies for building cities. Autonomous robotic platforms are one such key piece of technology. Such platforms allow us to service satellites in all orbits, making us the greatest "Space Mechanics'' out there. From here we envision building factories supporting a true in-space economy, and then, on to that city!” In a recent interview with the IITKGP Alumni Foundation (India), Arindrajit said that “this is not, so to say, a ludicrous idea. The technology (to make such cities) has been there since the 1970s. Now we are 40 years down the line and nothing is stopping us from doing it.”
On April 26, 2023, InspeCity reported raising $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Speciale Invest, a deep-tech venture capitalist. According to news reports, the company will utilize the raised capital to achieve two objectives. First, it will demonstrate that a defunct satellite can be docked with a deorbited satellite using its Vehicle for Life-Extension and Deorbiting Activities (VEDA) on an air-bearing platform, where both satellites will move without friction. Second, it will focus on technological advancements and expanding the team.