A momentous occasion unfolded in India’s space industry as Dr. Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of Science and Technology, introduced the cutting-edge Vikram-1 orbital rocket by Skyroot in Hyderabad on October 24th. This event marks a significant leap forward for India’s space endeavors, with Skyroot’s co-founder and CEO, Pawan Kumar Chandana, emphasizing the partly commercial nature of Vikram-1’s inaugural launch.
Described as a “technologically advanced, multi-stage launch vehicle,” Vikram-1 boasts a payload capacity of around 300 Kg to Low Earth Orbit. It is an all-carbon-fiber-bodied rocket equipped with 3D printed liquid engines, showcasing India’s capabilities in space technology.
What sets Vikram-1 apart is its ability to deploy multiple satellites into orbit, a remarkable feat that distinguishes it not only in India but on the global stage. This rocket follows in the footsteps of Skyroot’s earlier success, the Vikram-S rocket, which soared to the skies on November 18th, 2022. Vikram-1 can be considered an up-scaled version of its predecessor, showcasing the company’s commitment to innovation and advancement.
Chandana, while not specifying the exact launch month, has confirmed that the first comprehensive developmental test launch of Vikram-1 is slated for the early months of 2024, with a full commercial launch anticipated later that year. This timeline is significant, given the evolving competition in the satellite launch market, both globally and within India.
In terms of funding, Skyroot has secured approximately Rs 526 crore, with a substantial Rs 400 crore secured just a year ago. This financial stability is vital in enabling the company to pursue its ambitious plans and maintain its position as a pioneering private space launch provider.
Dr. Jitendra Singh, in his address, expressed optimism for the growth of India’s space economy. He cited estimates suggesting the industry could surge from $8 million to possibly $40 million by 2040, or even $100 million, highlighting the significance of India’s efforts in space technology and commercial space ventures.
As a testament to this progress, Dr. Singh inaugurated Skyroot Aerospace’s new global headquarters in Hyderabad, known as MAX-Q. This sprawling facility, the largest private rocket development center in India, consolidates integrated design, manufacturing, and testing capabilities under one roof. Spanning 60,000 square feet, with expansion plans on the horizon, MAX-Q represents Skyroot’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of space technology and its role in shaping India’s future in space exploration.