India’s first private player to test-fire multiple rocket propulsion systems: Skyroot Aerospace

Skyroot Aerospace is an aerospace small lift satellite and rocket launch vehicle designer based in Hyderabad, Telangana, founded in 2018 by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka. It has raised close to $15 million in funding to date and aims to begin launching in 2022.

By Digital Yug Sep 24 2021 6:19PM 515 Read
Skyroot Aerospace : First of its kind

Skyroot Aerospace is a start-up founded in 2018 by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka, among other former engineers and scientists from ISRO. They aim to craft small lift launch vehicles to carry light rockets and satellites to orbit. The vehicles will support communication services like earth imaging, IoT from space, GPS, and broadband internet and are the first company in India to successfully test a high-strength carbon composite third stage, a solid rocket stage, and a liquid propulsion engine.

Note : Each of Skyroot’s vehicles can be assembled and launched in under 24 hours and can take satellites that weigh up to 720 kilograms to low earth orbit in a highly cost-effective manner.

Skyroot Aerospace : Key Points

  • Legal Name - Skyroot Aerospace Pvt. Ltd.
  • CIN - U74999TG2018PTC125073
  • Founded - June 12, 2018
  • Founders - Pawan Kumar Chandana, Naga Bharath Daka
  • Headquarters - Hyderabad, Telangana, India
  • Industry - Aerospace technology
  • Last Funding Type - Series A
  • Financing status - Venture Capital-Backed
  • Revenue - Pre-revenue
  • Products/ Services - Aerospace manufacturing, commercial launch service provider (vehicles)
  • Company Type - Privately Held; For-Profit
  • Website - www.skyroot.in

Skyroot Aerospace : Founders

  • Pawan Kumar Chandana A co-founder and the current CEO and CTO, he is a former ISRO scientist and rocket engineer who worked for the Indian space program. He is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and among the few Indians named in Forbes 30-Under-30 Asia in 2020.
  • Naga Bharath Daka A co-founder and the current COO, he was a former Flight Computer Engineer at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, ISRO. He designed and realized multiple Avionics modules for launch vehicles, leads the Avionics and GNC teams at Skyroot and is an alumnus of IIT Madras.

Fun Fact : Skyroot Aerospace is the most affordable on-demand ride to space on the market.

Skyroot Aerospace : Launch Vehicles

Skyroot Aerospace is currently designing and manufacturing a series of expendable small lift launchers, which propel rockets up to 720 kilograms into orbit. The series is expendable, meaning one can only use the launchers a single time before being discarded. In addition, Skyroot is working on a reusable model. These small lift launchers are crafted for and target the small satellite market and have already booked launches beginning mid-2022.

Note : The series is called “Vikram”, named after Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian Space Program.

Skyroot Aerospace : Vikram Series Features

  • Vikram I
    • 225 kg to 500 km SSPO (Space Solar Power Orbit); 315 kg to 45º inclination 500 km LEO (Low Earth Orbit)
    • Reliable solid propulsion stages, Miniaturized and Modern Avionics, Ultra-Lowshock Pneumatic separation
    • Orbital Adjustment Module
    • Requires minimal range infrastructure: Can be assembled and launched within 24 hours from any launch site.
  • Vikram II
    • 410 kg to 500 km SSPO; 520 kg to 45º inclination 500 km LEO.
    • Advanced Cryogenic Methalox engine replaces the third stage of Vikram 1.
    • Upper stage cryo-engine - enables multi-orbit insertions
    • Requires minimal range infrastructure: Can be assembled and launched within 72 hours from any launch site.
  • Vikram III
    • 580 kg to 500 km SSPO; 720 kg to 45º inclination 500 km LEO.
    • Additional low cost Strapped on Solid Rocket Boosters
    • Upper stage engines - enables multi-orbit insertions
    • Requires minimal range infrastructure: Can be assembled and launched within 72 hours from any launch site.

All three in the Vikram series are the most economical in the market, and the cost is the lowest in the payload segment.

Skyroot Aerospace : Competitors

  • Bellatrix Aerospace
  • Pixxel
  • Agnikul
  • Ananth Technologies Ltd.
  • Dhruva Space
  • Manastu Space
  • Xovian
  • Astrome Technologies Pvt Ltd.

Fun Fact : Until 2021, ISRO had never entered into an agreement with a private entity. Skyroot and ISRO are working together to qualify and launch the former’s launch vehicles ahead of next year.

Skyroot Aerospace: Funding & Investors

To date, Skyroot Aerospace has raised a total of $14.9 million over three rounds.

DateStageAmountNo. of InvestorsLead Investors
May 19, 2021Series A$11M9Anil Chalamalasetty, Mahesh Kolli
December 1, 2019Corporate Round $2.4M--
July 1, 2018Seed Round$1.5M1-

Source: www.crunchbase.com/organization/skyroot-aerospace

Skyroot Aerospace : Growth & Numbers

  • Skyroot first entered the global limelight when it test-fired the Raman-I in August 2020. It was the first Indian private entity to test such a stage.
  • In September 2020, Skyroot unveiled the Dhawan-I stage, an LNG-fuelled (liquefied natural gas) engine that is clean, reusable, and suitable for extended missions.
  • ISRO and Skyroot Aerospace signed an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) on February 2, 2021. This agreement allows Skyroot Aerospace to access and utilize the equipment, technology, and laboratories in ISRO centres to develop their launch vehicles.
  • They partnered with Bellatrix Aerospace in February 2021 to utilize the latter’s Orbital Transfer Vehicle in their Vikram series of launch vehicles.

Note : Skyroot Aerospace won the Indian National Startup Awards 2020 by Space-Tech Solutions.

Skyroot Aerospace - Future and Vision

Skyroot Aerospace envisions a future where space flight is as regular, reliable and affordable as air flight. They intend to raise another $40 million over the next few years to fund their “aggressive” growth plans. Skyroot is building next-generation technology which will democratize space access, further telecommunications and unlock potential for sustainability intervention.

Digital Yug
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Digital Yug is an Indian digital media platform that posts real life stories, events, news, and blogs about startups, entrepreneurs, and successful people. The company was founded by Dr Anil Diggiwal in 2018 and is currently a privately owned, bootstrapped organization. This Jaipur based company publishes & focuses on undiscovered, small startup stories.

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