In a first, space dept signs pact with Hyderabad startup to provide access to Isro facilities | Hyderabad News
Skyroot Aerospace has therefore become the first Indian startup to formally sign an agreement with Isro to use its assets since the announcement of the new political decision by the Modi government in May last year when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman opened the space sector and isro facilities for private players.
Scientific Secretary of Isro and president of the interim committee IN-SPACe R Umamaheswaran, which represented DoS, and Skyroot Aerospace CEO Pawan Chandana signed a framework memorandum of understanding on Saturday. During the signing of the MoU, Skyroot representatives met with Isro President K Sivan and presented the status of their space activities. Sivan secured full support for the Skyroot team to successfully carry out their launch vehicle program.
Speaking to TOI, the President of Isro said: “Two companies, Agnikul and Skyroot Aerospace, are working on small rockets and have therefore approached us to use our facilities to launch their vehicles. We have signed confidentiality agreements (NDAs), first with Agnikul and then with Skyroot Aerospace. NDA it is signed before we expose our facilities and technical expertise to a company. Once an NDA is signed, only we can allow a company to visit our facilities. Once the company has visited our facilities and interacted with Isro officials, we sign a framework memorandum of understanding with it. Skyroot is therefore the first company with which we signed the MoU. Agnikul is also expected to sign the memorandum of understanding very soon. ”
The MoU will allow Skyroot to conduct multiple tests and access facilities at various Isro centers and will help it leverage the space agency’s technical expertise to test and qualify its space launch vehicle systems and subsystems, according to a statement from Isro.
Skyroot Aerospace has been developing its first Vikram-I launch vehicle, which is on track for an expected launch next year. In August 2020, the company rose to prominence when it tested the Raman-I hypergolic fuel top stage (named after CV Raman). This solid fuel upper stage is a component of Vikram-I and Skyroot Aerospace was the first private desi entity to test such a stage. On December 22, 2020, Skyroot Aerospace tested the Kalam-5 solid-fuel rocket engine, the first of five planned carbon-composite Kalam rocket engines expected to power its launch vehicles.
Skyroot Aerospace was formed in January 2017 by former Isro Pawan scientists Kumar Chandana, Naga Bharath Daka, and Vasudevan Gnanagandhi, as well as a small group of entrepreneurs, including CureFit founders Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagor. The company has raised $ 11 million in its Series A funding. This is almost 10 times the $ 1.5 million that rocket building entrepreneurs Chandana and Daka had raised in 2018. Recently, Daka, co-founder and COO of Skyroot Aerospace, said: “We intend to raise $ 40 million more to fund our aggressive growth plans for the next few years. ”