Skyroot Aerospace to launch India’s First Rocket with a 3D Printed engine later this month

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Launch Vehicle with 3D Printed engine
Above: Rendering of the Vikram III Launch Vehicle/Image Credit: Skyroot Aersoace

Skyroot Aerospace, one of India’s leading private space-tech startups, recently announced plans to launch India’s first private rocket powered by a 3D printed engine this month. Skyroot’s Prarambh mission will launch between November 12 and 16.

The rocket will fly suborbitally with three customer payloads, testing and validating the rocket’s technology. It will be launched from ISRO’s Sriharikota facility, which handles all of ISRO’s orbital launches. Depending on weather conditions, the final date will be announced closer to the launch.

Dhawan-1 – 3D Printed Engine

Skyroot Aerospace will become India’s first private space company to launch a rocket with this mission. The rocket that will be launched is part of the company’s Vikram series, which is named after space visionary and Indian space programme founder Vikram Sarabhai.

The Dhawan-1 engine, 3D printed from a superalloy, propels the Vikram series of rockets, cutting production time by 95%. The engine runs on liquefied natural gas and liquid oxygen, which is a high-performance, low-cost, and environmentally friendly rocket fuel.

Skyroot raised $51 million earlier this year to advance research and development of the same Vikram rockets with 3D printed cyrogenic engines.

With a nervous excitement, CEO and co-founder Pawan Kumar Chandana said, “It took more than four years to get here with the phenomenal team’s work at Skyroot.”

COO and co-founder Naga Bharath Daka stated in a press release that the rocket, a Vikram-S class, is a single-stage sub-orbital launch vehicle, and that the flight will test and validate the majority of the Vikram series technologies.

The Hyderabad-based company works with the mission of “opening space for all” and was among the first to sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with ISRO for access to facilities and expertise.

Test Flight of Agnilet, Agnikul Cosmos’s Engine

In related news, Agnikul Cosmos, another Indian space-tech startup, announced their intention to conduct a test flight of their engine, the Agnilet. On November 4, 15 seconds of ground testing were conducted at the Vertical Test Facility, Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), Thiruvananthapuram.

According to CEO and co-founder Srinath Ravichandran, “We are planning to launch the vehicle by the end of the year. This engine is much closer to the engine that will be in the first flight. This successful test is a validation of our tech at ISRO’s facilities. Since the engine is quite unique, this is a huge milestone for us.”

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