GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

With the objective to woo private players in space activities, the department of space (DoS) has signed its first-ever agreement with a Hyderabad-based space startup, Skyroot Aerospace, for providing it “access to Isro’s facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems and systems of space launch vehicles”.

What

  1. Skyroot Aerospace has, therefore, become the first Indian startup to formally enter into an agreement with Isro for using its assets since the announcement of the new policy decision of the government in May last year when finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman opened up the space sector and Isro facilities for private players.
  2. The MoU will enable Skyroot to undertake multiple tests and access facilities of various Isro centres and help it avail of technical expertise of the space agency for testing and qualifying their space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.
  3. Skyroot Aerospace has been developing its first launch vehicle Vikram-I, which is on track for an expected launch next year.
  4. In August 2020, the company came to the limelight when it test-fired the Raman-I hypergolic-fuel upper stage (named after C V Raman).
  5. This solid-fuel upper stage is a component of Vikram-I and Skyroot Aerospace was the first desi private entity to test such a stage.
  6. On December 22, 2020, Skyroot Aerospace tested the solid-fuel rocket engine Kalam-5, the first of five planned carbon-composite Kalam rocket motors that are expected to power its launch vehicles.
  7. Skyroot Aerospace was formed in January 2017 by former Isro scientists Pawan Kumar Chandana, Naga Bharath Daka and Vasudevan Gnanagandhi.