The country’s first privately developed rocket, Vikram-S, is poised to create history as it undergoes final launch preparations at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) launchpad in Sriharikota.
Kondapur (Telengana)-based Skyroot Aerospace is all set to create history by becoming the first private space company in India to launch a rocket into space. The mission named ‘Prarambh’, meaning “the beginning” in Sanskrit, heralds a new era for startups in the country’s spacetech sector.
The first space mission for Skyroot was unveiled by ISRO Chairman Dr S Somanath in Bengaluru on Monday. This followed the clearance for technical launch received from the single window nodal agency for promoting and regulating space-tech players, IN-SPACe.
Although the authorities have notified a launch window between November 12 and 16, the final date will be confirmed based on weather conditions. The rocket will be sent into space from ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre spaceport in Sriharikota, off the Andhra Pradesh coast.
The space sector was opened up to facilitate private sector participation in 2020. In 2021, Skyroot became the first space technology startup to ink an MoU with ISRO for sharing facilities and expertise.
Thanking ISRO and IN-SPACe for their support, CEO & co-founder of Skyroot Aerospace, Pawan Kumar Chandana, told Business Today, “We are proud to announce our pathbreaking mission ‘Prarambh’ dedicated to the Indian private space sector, which has hugely benefited from the reforms that were guided by the government of India and its vision”
Skyroot’s launch vehicles are named Vikram after the founder of the country’s space programme, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and are being developed by a 200-member strong team of engineers at Skyroot. Built using an all-carbon fibre structure, the Vikram series rockets are capable of carrying up to 800 kg payloads to the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
The company’s COO & co-founder, Naga Bharath Daka, said “The Vikram-S rocket getting launched is a single-stage sub-orbital launch vehicle, which would carry three customer payloads and help test and validate the majority of technologies in our Vikram series of space launch vehicles.”
The four-year-old Skyroot has successfully built and tested India's first privately developed cryogenic, hypergolic-liquid, and solid fuel-based rocket engines. The R&D and production activities extensively use advanced composite and 3D-printing technologies.
Skyroot Aerospace successfully raised $51 million or Rs 403 crore through a Series-B financing round, in September this year. Led by the Singapore-headquartered long-term investment firm GIC, this makes it the largest funding round ever in India’s space technology sector by far.
Currently, the 53 spacetech startups in India have collectively raised funding to the tune of $220 million, according to data from the information technology services company Tracxn, and Business Today. Skyroot Aerospace leads the pack, followed by AgniKul and satellite maker Pixxel.
Edited by Ragul Senthil https://www.linkedin.com/in/ragulms