Skyroot Aerospace Signs Launch Contract, Eyes $40 Million Raise

Vikram boosters (Credit: Skyroot Aerospace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Indian launch startup Skyroot Aerospace last week reported that it has signed a launch deal with satellite provider Dhruva Space as the company gears up to raise an additional $40 million next year to fund its booster development.

Skyroot tweeted that Dhruva “booked to send their smallsats and deployers to space on our launch vehicle Vikram 1.” Dhruva, which bills itself as India’s first private space company, builds satellites weighing from less than 1 kg (2.2 lb) up to 300 kg (661 lb) for commercial, scientific and defense purposes in low Earth orbit and higher. Dhruva also markets a small satellite deployer and provides hosted payload opportunities.

Skyroot also signed a memorandum of understanding with Precious Payload, a New York City-based company that helps arrange rocket launches for satellite producers. Both agreements were signed last week during the International Astronautical Congress in Dubai, UAE.

Skyroot is developing a family of Vikram boosters that require minimal range infrastructure and can be assembled and launched within 24 or 72 hours depending upon the version used. The company describes the rockets 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.

PTI reports that Skyroot is looking to raise millions of dollars next year to continue development of the Vikram boosters.

Founded in 2018 by former ISRO rocket scientists, the company is planning to double its workforce by next year and has started hiring people for middle to senior-level positions.

”We are providing the lowest cost solution per kilogram for small launches. We are seeing a good amount of interest and hence building a solution to align with satellite launches planned in 2022. Our target is to raise U$40 million next year to support our growth and launches,” Skyroot CEO and co-founder Pawan Kumar Chandana told PTI.

The company had raised $11 million in July led by Greenko Group founders Anil Chalamalasetty and Mahesh Kolli. Publicly listed Solar Group, former-WhatsApp senior executive and Paytm board member Neeraj Arora, Myntra and Curefit founder Mukesh Bansal, Sutton Capital etc also participated in the round.

Skyroot is looking to conduct Vikram I’s maiden launch at the end of 2022.