Kalam-5: Skyroot test-fires solid propulsion rocket stage successfully

Kalam-5 uses 15+ advanced materials, 9 manufacturing processes and 4 critical subsystems.  

The Skyroot Aerospace test-fires yet another rocket, named Kalam-5, successfully. This is the first time in India that a private company, Skyroot Aerospace, has successfully designed, developed, and tested a full solid propulsion rocket stage.

“We did it again! Yet another successful rocket firing,” reads a LinkedIn post by Pawan Kumar Chandana, CEO of Skyroot. He also added that Kalam-5 uses 15+ advanced materials, 9 manufacturing processes, 4 critical subsystems and has zero moving parts. All these working perfectly for their first time with extreme 3000C fire inside and spot-on to our prediction is a monumental achievement.

Kalam-5 is a demonstrator solid rocket propulsion stage that has exactly the same propellant, materials, and interfaces as the three solid propulsion stages of the Vikram-1 launch vehicle.

It is built with an advanced carbon composite structure in a completely automated process. Chandana said, “Carbon composite case is very challenging to design and manufacture but is five-times lighter than steel.”

Kalam-5 gives a peak sea-level thrust of 5.3kN, which is designed to take 66 atmospheres and 30000C of combustion pressure and temperature respectively. “This is also 1:4 scale in size of our Vikram-1 3rd stage,” added Chandana.

“The test results closely matched our predictions and this success gives great confidence for our Vikram-I vehicle development,” the CEO further added.

The testing of Kalam-5 was done on December 22 at a private test facility in Nagpur owned by the Solar Industries, India’s largest explosives manufacturer and a leading space and defence contractor which is also a partner and investor in Skyroot.

“Test firing of Vikram-1 launch vehicle’s third stage (Kalam-100) is planned in a few months at ISRO facilities,” said Naga Bharath Daka, co-founder and COO, Skyroot Aerospace. Skyroot Aerospace’s first launch vehicle ‘Vikram-I’ is under active manufacturing and targeting to launch in Dec 2021 with the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

“With this test along with the company’s Raman Engine test firing done in August 2020, Skyroot has demonstrated all propulsion technologies in Vikram-1 vehicles,” Chandana added.

With this, Skyroot unveils the first of five Kalam series of solid rocket motors with a thrust ranging from 5kN to 1000kN. The other four remaining motors are in various stages of manufacturing. These would be tested in 2021.

Skyroot has already raised $4.3 million as of now and is further working towards raising $15 million in 2021. Earlier the space start-up has backed investments from Mukesh Bansal (Founder Myntra, CureFit), Vedanshu Investments, Solar Industries (India’s largest explosives manufacturer and renowned Space & Defence Contractor), and a few other Angel investors.

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