Hyderabad startup Skyroot Aerospace raises $51mn to boost small satellite launches

Hyderabad: In what is being seen as the largest funding round ever in the Indian space-tech sector, Skyroot Aerospace, a Hyderabad-based startup has successfully raised US$51 million (Rs 403 crore).

The company plans to cater to the growing demand from the international small satellite market. Skyroot is pioneering India’s first privately developed space launch vehicles.

The flagship Vikram series of launch vehicles, named after the founder of India’s space programme — Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.

Vikram Series rockets are uniquely built with an all-carbon-fiber structure, can launch up to 800 kg of payloads to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

The fresh round of funding follows the Indian government’s major thrust to the space sector by opening it up to private sector players including startups and encouraging private investments into the sector.

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GIC, among the established investors in India, led the funding round. Mayank Rawat, Managing Director of GIC India Direct Investment Group will be joining Skyroot’s Board, the company stated on Friday.

“This round puts us on a trajectory of hyper-growth by funding all of our initial developmental launches, and enables building infrastructure to meet high launch cadence required by our satellite customers,” said Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-Founder and CEO of Skyroot.

The 4-year-old Skyroot has successfully built and tested India’s first privately developed cryogenic, hypergolic-liquid, and solid fuel-based rocket engines.

The added fund will help expand the world space engineering team which currently has close to 200 employees experienced in the rocket industry.

“We have validated all three propulsion technologies in our Vikram space launch vehicles, and completed a full duration test of one of our rocket stages in May’22. We are also planning a demonstrator launch to space this year. This round will help us get to full-fledged commercial satellite launch scale within a year from now. We have started booking payload slots for our upcoming launches,” said Naga Bharath Daka, Co-Founder and COO of Skyroot.

Skyroot has an MoU with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for sharing facilities and expertise.