Hyderabad-based spacetech startup Skytoot Aerospace announced a successful test firing of its solid propulsion rocket stage named Kalam-5. According to the company, this is the first time that a private company has successfully designed, developed and tested a full solid propulsion rocket stage.
The startup also revealed that it is in the process of raising $15 million funding in 2021. The startup has till date raised $4.3 million and counts Mukesh Bansal, Vedantu Investments, Solar Industries among others as its investors.
In an official statement, the startup revealed that its solid propulsion rocket stage has been built with advanced carbon composite structure in a completely automated process. Carbon composite case is five-times lighter than steel case but is also very challenging to design and manufacture.
“Kalam-5 is a demonstrator solid rocket propulsion stage with exactly the same propellant, materials, and interfaces as the three solid propulsion stages of the Vikram-1 launch vehicle. It gives a peak Sea Level thrust of 5.3kN and designed to take 66 atmospheres and 30,000 C of combustion pressure and temperature respectively,” Pawan Kumar Chandana Co-founder & CEO of Skyroot Aerospace, said in a statement.
He also explained that with this development, the startup unveils the first of five Kalam series of solid rocket motors. The remaining four motors are currency under the manufacturing process and are expected to be tested in 2021.
According to the CEO, Kalam-5 uses 15 different types of advanced materials, nine manufacturing processes, and has zero moving parts.
“This is a major milestone for Skyroot and for the Indian private space sector. The test results closely matched our predictions and this success gives great confidence for our Vikram-I vehicle development,” Pawan adds.
Pawan along with Naga Bharath Daka, former ISRO scientists, had launched Skyroot Aerospace to develop privately built space launch vehicles. Its Vikram series — named after ISRO founder Dr. Vikram Sarabhai — consists of three launch vehicles developed especially for launching small satellites.
According to the co-founders, the first vehicle, Vikram-I, is under manufacturing and is expected to be launched in December 2021 with the help of ISRO.
Pawan said that with this test along with its previous Raman Engine test firing done in August, the startup has now successfully demonstrated all the propulsion technologies in its Vikram-1 vehicle.