Skyroot Aerospace test-fires solid propulsion rocket engine

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on December 28, 2020

This is Skyroot’s first of five Kalam series of solid rocket motors

Skyroot Aerospace, a Hyderabad based start-up in the space sector, has successfully test-fired a solid propulsion rocket engine named Kalam-5.

It is the country’s first private sector company to successfully test-fire a solid propulsion rocket stage engine designed and developed by it. It has been built with advanced carbon composite structure in a completely automated process. A carbon composite case is challenging to design and manufacture and is five times lighter than steel.

With this test, along with its Raman Engine (liquid propulsion) test-firing done in August 2020, Skyroot has demonstrated all propulsion technologies in Vikram-1 vehicle.

This is Skyroot’s first of five Kalam series of solid rocket motors. The remaining four motors are in various stages of manufacturing and are expected to be tested in 2021.

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Major milestone

Kalam-5 is a demonstrator solid rocket propulsion stage with exactly same propellant, materials and interfaces as the three solid propulsion stages of Vikram-1 launch vehicle. It gives a peak Sea Level thrust of 5.3kN and is designed to take 66 atmospheres and 30000C of combustion pressure and temperature respectively. This is also 1:4 scale in size of Vikram-1 third stage.

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Solid motors are high-thrust, low-cost rocket engines with propellant in solid form. They are highly reliable as they have very few moving parts.

Testing was done at a private test facility last week (December 22) in Nagpur owned by Solar Industries, a major explosives manufacturer and a leading Space and Defence contractor and also a partner and investor in Skyroot.

“Kalam-5 uses 15 different advanced materials, nine different manufacturing processes, and has zero moving parts,” Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-Founder and CEO of Skyroot, said.

“We named our solid propulsion stages as a tribute to our beloved and renowned rocket scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam,” Naga Bharath Daka, Co-Founder and COO, said.

“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,” Chandana said.

“Test-firing of Vikram-1 launch vehicle’s 3rd Stage (Kalam-100) is planned in a few months at ISRO facilities,” Daka said. The start-up is aiming at its first launch vehicle Vikram-I with the help of ISRO in December 2021. It is now being manufactured.

Skyroot is backed by funding by Mukesh Bansal of Myntra, Solar Industries, Vedanshu Investments and others.

Published on December 28, 2020

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