Key People: Pawan Kumar Chandana
Skyroot Aerospace successfully test-fires rocket engine ‘Raman’.
Skyroot Aerospace is the first privately held company in India to build a homegrown upper-stage rocket engine. They named the engine ‘Raman’ after the Nobel laureate Sir C.V. Raman. The latest rocket engine developed by Skyroot, Raman is the first 100 percent 3D printed rocket engine in the country. Recently, on the 13th of August, the company released the test-firing footage of Raman. The rocket consists of 4 engines that generate a thrust of 3.4 KN and is powered by UDMH ( Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine ) and NTO ( Dinitrogen tetroxide ) liquid fuels. Skyroot Aerospace aims at building technologies that enable responsive, reliable, and economic access to space.
The founders of Skyroot Aerospace Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka are both former ISRO scientists. They envisioned to launch three types of vehicles: Vikram-1, Vikram-2, Vikram-3. It is a tribute to the ISRO founder Vikram Sarabhai.
Hyderabad Stories got in touch with one of the founders to know their incredible journey so far.
Inception Story of Skyroot Aerospace
We were scientists at ISRO turned Entrepreneurs. We sensed the ‘Make in India’ opportunity of commercial applications in the Space sector in the short run and the great impact that Rockets & Space can bring to humanity in the long run. With this and along with our passion for Rockets & Space, we quit our jobs to begin building what we want to be one of the world’s best Space companies proudly built from Indian soil.
Why did you start and how will your Company create an impact?
We believe Space is the next big frontier for human expansion and affordable plus reliable spaceflight is the fundamental problem to solve for achieving it. We formed Skyroot to help accelerate this in the next two decades by building cutting edge technologies both for the present market requirements and for the spaceships of the future.
Measures your Company is taking during the Pandemic?
- Pandemic has hit the economy and the supply chain very hard. We took this as a challenge and kept re-inventing ourselves, innovating more, and pushing ourselves even harder.
- We reduced physical space and having majority work from home and stay safe through social distancing.
- We optimized work from home to a level we were working more efficiently than before.
Current Business Model and Future Company Expansion Plans?
Our current business model is providing launch services to small satellites i.e., providing transportation services to space. You may call it ‘Uber to Space’, and the rockets we build are the vehicles to Space.
In the future, we will be getting into larger rockets and reusable spaceships towards our eventual mission to make spaceflight as affordable and reliable as air flight.
Skyroot! Their Motto? “Uber to Space!” Yes, you heard it right. Space transportation is what they seek to build. With their current business model focusing on small satellites, they would be the first ones from India, to have achieved that. Reusable spaceships are one of their future dreams.
Message for the budding and future Start-Up community?
Often start-up founders spend a lot of time targeting smaller problems when the same quantum of time can be utilized to build the next big thing in whatever sector they choose.
So think BIG and don’t worry about failure – either you win or you learn (building the next BIG thing).
It is a proud moment for India. Dreams have no limit and they have proved it with the launch of Raman on the day of the 101st birth anniversary of Vikram Sarabhai.
The start-up aiming for skies has unwrapped a humongous potential for the India Space Sector. It is indeed a victory in the field of Science and Technology.