On the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of Padma Vibhushan Dr. Satish Dhawan, Skyroot Aerospace has unveiled ‘Dhawan – 1’. It is India’s first privately developed indigenous fully cryogenic rocket engine which runes on liquid natural gas (LNG) as fuel. Dr Satish Dhawan was the third Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The ISRO rocket launch centre at Sriharikota is also named after him.
The ‘Dhawan – 1’ cryogenic engine is 3D Printed in its entirety using powder bed fusion metal additive manufacturing. Development of Dhawan is being led by V Gnana Gandhi, a former ISRO scientist considered among the pioneers of cryogenic technology in the country. He had led a team to Russia in the early 1990s as part of India’s cryogenic programme, and has worked extensively on multiple ISRO projects
According to Skyroot, this cryogenic engine with be powering the upper stage of the Vikram II rocket. The company is also developing Vikram I rocket which is expected to make its first flight next year.
Earlier last month, Skyroot Aerospace, successfully test-fired its upper stage rocket engine named ‘Raman, which can place multiple satellites into orbit. Skyroot has developed in-house software for launch vehicle guidance, navigation and control functions and testing for onboard avionics modules is in progress and the firm is targeting its first launch vehicle in December 2021, Naga Bharath Daka, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Skyroot said.
According to a report by consulting firm PwC and Antrix Corporation, the Indian space sector has the potential to become a $50 billion industry, growing at a compound annual growth rate or CAGR of 48 per cent over the next five years. “Since India is a major space-faring nation, Indian start-ups can leverage the situation for business gains, provided ISRO handholds them,” Rakesh Sasibhushan, chairman and managing director at Antrix was quoted in the report.