Skyroot, ISRO to Cooperate on Development of Commercial Satellite Launcher

Vikram boosters (Credit: Skyroot Aerospace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Skyroot Aerospace and India’s Department of Space have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that will enable the Hyderabad-based startup to access the facilities and technical expertise available in ISRO centers to proceed with development of its Vikram family of launch vehicles.

Vikrams will launch payloads ranging from 225 kg to 720 kg depending upon the rocket used and the orbit desired. Skyroot says the boosters can be assembled and launched within 24 to 72 hours with minimal infrastructure.

Skyroot was founded by three former ISRO employees — Pawan Kumar Chandana, Naga Bharath Daka and Vasudevan Gnanagandhi — who are looking to take advantage of India’s decision to allow private space companies to operate.

Skyroot has received the backing of Curefit founders Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori. Curefit is a health and fitness company that has raised $404.6 million.

Vikram Boosters

Skyroot describes the three Vikram boosters as follows.

Vikram I

  •  225 kg to 500 km sun synchronous polar orbit (SSPO)
  • 315 kg to 45º inclination 500 km low Earth orbit (LEO)
  • Highly reliable solid propulsion stages with proven design heritage.
  • Orbital Adjustment Module with re-start capability enables multi-orbit insertions.
  • 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 methalox engine replaces third stage of Vikram 1.
  • Upper stage cryo-engine with re-start capability 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
  • Upgrade to Vikram 2 with additional low-cost strap-on solid rocket boosters.
  • Upper stage engine with re-start capability enables multi-orbit insertions.
  • Requires minimal range infrastructure. Can be assembled and launched within 72 hours from any launch site.

The launch vehicles are named for Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, who is known as the father of Indian space program. The physicist and astronomer helped found and served as chairman of the Indian National Committee for Space Research, which later became ISRO.