Skyroot Aerospace Company: Founded in July 2018, Skyroot Aerospace Private Limited is a space startup formed by the scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). From being the first startup to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ISRO to becoming the first organization to launch Vikram 1, an indigenous rocket, it attained various milestones.
Skyroot Aerospace Company: History
The Skyroot Aerospace company was founded by former ISRO scientists and researchers Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Dhaka, with support from entrepreneurs including Curefit. The company secured initial funding of $4.3 million from aerospace firm Solar Industries, and they aim to develop small satellite launch vehicles to provide affordable space access. With experienced leadership and strategic investors, the startup is making strides toward its goal of “Opening space for all.” From pioneering rockets like Vikram-S and Vikram-1 to plans for customizable launch services, Skyroot leverages homegrown technology to expand India’s space capabilities. By drawing on ISRO expertise and startup agility, the company exemplifies how India is advancing its space program through visionary new ventures.
From Raman-1 to Vikram 1: A Few Pivotal Events
- Skyroot Aerospace Company first gained prominence in 2020 when it test-fired Raman-1, a hypergolic fuel upper-stage engine. It originated as a component of Vikram-1-1 that made it the first organization to test such engines.
- It further worked on testing some other rocket engines, including Kalam-5 and Kalam-100 named after the missile man “A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.” It became the first organization to test fire India’s first small cryogenic engine, Dhawan-1
- The startup significantly changed in 2022 by launching Vikram-S, India’s first privately built rocket, a suborbital launch vehicle from Sriharikota, Hyderabad. The mission operated under “Prarambh”, which signifies the beginning. The mission took place with the intent of assessing the efficacy of
- This year, it came into the limelight again after announcing another multi-stage launch vehicle, Vikram 1, expected to deliver satellites in early 2024. It was launched at the “MAX-Q Campus”, inaugurated on the same day by the Union Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh.
- Recently, it became the Highest-funded Tech startup with an infusion of 225 crores by Singapore’s Investment Firm Temasek Holdings.
A further study indicated that the space industry will reach $40 billion by 2040 and acquire a 4% market share globally. The study focused on India’s Potential to reach $100 Billion in the coming years. India stands at number 7 when it comes to satellites operated. But with the growing technological advancements, there is a hope that India will be able to surpass the US and China- the top two spacefaring powers.
Major Collaborations: Changing the Face of the Space Sector
- The company signed an NDA with ISRO to gain access to ISRO’s facilities and expertise. This collaboration has been instrumental in developing rocket engines and launch vehicles.
- In October 2022, the startup secured $11 million in funding from Greenko Group to support the development and launch of their Vikram-1-1 rocket. This funding round was part of a larger series B funding round that raised $21.5 million.
- In July 2023, the startup announced a partnership with Bellatrix Aerospace to utilize their OTV, a spacecraft designed to transport satellites between different orbits. This partnership will enable the startup to offer more comprehensive launch services to customers.
Skyroot Aerospace Company: Awards and Recognitions
- Emerged as the winner of the National Startup Awards 2020
- Won the Aegis Graham Bell Award for Jury Choice 2020.
- Ranked 7th on LinkedIn’s 2021 Top Startups List in India
The Way Forward: Bringing Transformation to the Aerospace Industry
The establishment of the Indian space center arose from the imperative to achieve self-reliance, embodying the concept of ‘Swadeshi’ or autonomy. Previously reliant on other nations for technological requirements, India sought to chart its independent course in space exploration and technology. It was a precedent of India’s hidden potential, which effectively channelized can make strides like this. Further providing equal opportunities to both public and private sectors can be a great effort towards it.
Read More: Rakesh Sharma Story: The Story of The First And Only Indian In Space