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Rocket maker Skyroot Aerospace targets 5% market share

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By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, Dec 12 (IANS) Private space sector startup Skyroot Aerospace Private Ltd, which is progressing fast in realising its first rocket, is targeting five per cent market share in the satellite launch vehicle, said a top company official.

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He also said the various draft policies announced by the Department of Space (DOS) that allows private sector players have been liberal and forward looking.

Raising about Rs 92 crore as capital till date, the Hyderabad based Skyroot Aerospace has a headcount of about 100, including several experienced hands from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with expertise from different fields.

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As a matter of fact, the two Co-Founders Pawan Kumar Chandana, CEO and Chief Technology Officer and Naga Bharath Daka, COO, Head Avionics & GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) were earlier with ISRO.

The company is developing three rockets — Vikram 1, 2 and 3.

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Recently, Skyroot Aerospace tested its cryogenic engine called Dhawan-1 to be fixed in the upper state of the company’s rocket Vikram-2.

The company said Dhawan-1 is India’s first privately developed cryogenic rocket engine fueled by liquid natural gas (LNG) and liquid oxygen (LoX).

The engine uses LNG and LoX at cryogenic temperatures as propellants, which are high performance, low-cost, and green.

“These are the rocket propellants of the future, and this test makes us one of the very few companies in the world to have successfully demonstrated this technology,” said Chandana.

“With this milestone, we have successfully demonstrated all the three propulsion technologies in our Vikram series of space launch vehicles in the first attempt itself, exhibiting great maturity of our team,” said Daka.

“The complex engine start and shut-off transients are perfectly smooth, combustion was very stable, and pressure was rock steady,” said V.Gnanagandhi, a Padma Shri awardee and Senior Vice President – Propulsion.

Welcoming the draft policies issued by DOS covering various segments of the space sector Chandana told IANS: “Separate policies for Space sector are required and are being built by IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre — the sectoral regulator for private companies) under Department of Space.”

According to him, all the draft policies are liberal and forward looking.

Chandana said the IN-SPACe is being established at the optimum speed possible and hoped the company’s programme should not get delayed due to regulatory roadblocks.

On the market potential for the rocket makers, he said the global satellite launch services market is about $6 billion per year and is growing.

“Our goal is to achieve up to five per cent market share in a few years,” Chandana said.

He said the company is targeting a test launch to orbit by the end of 2022.

Skyroot Aerospace has signed an agreement with DOS so that it can access the facilities and expertise of ISRO towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of its rockets.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)



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