India test fires first Private Upper Stage Rocket Engine

Highlights:

  • The Aerospace Start up Skyroot Aerospace has test fired an upper stage rocket engine and has become the first Indian private company to demonstrate the capability of homegrown rocket engine.
  • The 3D printed rocket engine was named after the Nobel Laureate Sir C V Raman. 
  • The rocket had fewer moving parts and weighed half of conventional rocket engines. According to the master minds that developed the rocket, it is capable of multiple restarts. Also, it is capable of inserting various satellites into multiple orbits in a single mission.
Skyroot Aerospace: A Fact File
  • The rocket was developed by the Skyroot firm that is headquartered at Hyderabad. The firm is backed by Curefit founders Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori.  
  • The Skyroot Aerospace was founded by former scientists of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).
  • The firm demonstrated the first 100% 3D printed bi-propellant liquid rocket engine injector. This rocket had its overall mass reduced by 50% and total number of components and lead time reduced by 80%.
  • The first rocket that is to be launched in lower earth orbit weighs around 250-700 kgs. It is expected to be launched by 2021.
  • India had recently opened its space sector to its private players such as Skyroot, Bellatrix and Agnikul. They are building small launchers with 3-D printed engines. 
  • This is bringing down the cost of satellite launching. Also, this methodology is gaining bigger pie of global small satellite launch market.
  • The research firm Frost and Sullivan is to launch more than 10,000 small satellites globally in the next decade.
  • In June 2020, GoI introduced a major reform in space sector by opening doors to private sectors. 
  • This will allow the space research organization to focus more on development activities, exploration, new technologies, exploration mission and also human space flight programmes.
  • A new Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) was created to provide level playing field for the private companies to use Indian space infrastructure.