INDIAN SCENARIO

India’s Skyroot Aerospace Test-Fires Upper Stage Rocket Engine fitted with 3D Printed Injector

Launch Vehicle
3D printed injector
Above: Vikram I Launch Vehicle (an artist rendering)/Image Credit: Skyroot Aerospace

Skyroot Aerospace, a Startup working towards Democratizing Space Access, successfully test-fired its upper stage rocket engine fitted with a 100% 3D printed injector. The rocket engine is a part of its Vikram I launch vehicle. 

The engine named as ‘Raman’, is a tribute to the Nobel laureate Sir C.V. Raman, can place multiple satellites into orbit. The Raman engine is powered by UDMH and NTO liquid fuels and a cluster of 4 engines would generate 3.4kN thrust. 

SKYROOT AEROSPACE

Launch Vehicle
Above: (Left to Right) Vikram I, II & III rockets/Image Credit: Skyroot Aerospace

Skyroot Aerospace is a Hyderabad-based space Startup, founded by former scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It works towards building India’s first privately built space launch vehicles.

According to the company, they have planned for three rockets, namely Vikram I, II & III, the name is a tribute to ISRO founder Vikram Sarabhai. The Raman engine is a meant to be the final stage of the four-stage rocket Vikram I. Vikram I is to be powered by 3 stages of solid-fuelled engines and the final stage, which we have currently tested is a liquid-fuelled one.

Above: RAMAN Engine test-fire demonstration/Video Credit: Skyroot Aerospace/YouTube

Speaking about the recent testing, Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-Founder and CEO, Skyroot Aerospace said, “We demonstrated India’s first 100 per cent 3D printed Bi-Propellant Liquid Rocket Engine injector. Compared to traditional manufacturing this reduced the overall mass by 50 per cent, reduced total number of components and lead time by 80 per cent. The engine is capable of multiple restarts enabling them to insert various satellites into multiple orbits in a single mission.”

While speaking in an interview to WION News about the use of 3D printing technology for manufacturing the 3D printed injector, the Skyroot spokesperson mentioned that besides metals we are also using special materials in the 3D printing process and the Vikram engine has come out as designed and is highly efficient. Though uncommon in India, 3D printing using metals is widely used in the international market and various components used for space projects are 3D printed. We are looking forward to 3D printing the entire Cryogenic engine to be used in our Vikram-2 rocket.

Rocket Engine
Above: Rendering of the Vikram III Launch Vehicle/Image Credit: Skyroot Aerospace

According to Naga Bharath Daka, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Skyroot Aerospace, “Skyroot has developed in-house software for launch vehicle guidance, navigation and control functions and testing for on-board avionics modules is in progress and the firm is targeting its first launch vehicle in December 2021.

He continued, “Our first launch vehicle ‘Vikram-I’ which is under manufacturing and targeting launch in Dec 2021, hosts an Orbit Adjustment Module (OAM) at the top which gives the final burn and inserts multiple satellites into space. In an ‘Indias first’, we successfully test-fired its liquid engine.”

The Indian government recently crated the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) which allows access to ISRO’s testing and launch range facilities. This will immensely benefit this fledgling company.

Naga added, “We are already in active discussions with ISRO for testing activities. We look forward to utilizing ISROs launch ranges for our launch.

Skyroot Aerospace has so far raised Rs 31.5 crore till now and is in the process of raising another Rs 90 crore before 2021. Mukesh Bansal, founder of Myntra, Solar Industries, Vedanshu Investments and few other angel investors participated in the early stage funding.


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