Private Indian Startup Unveils Rocket Engine, Aims for Smallsat Market

Dhawan-1 cryogenic engine (Credit: Skyroot Aerospace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On Thursday, a commercial Indian launch startup named Skyroot Aerospace unveiled its Dhawan-1 cryogenic engine to mark the 100th anniversary of Indian rocket pioneer Satish Dhawan.

The company said the engine is 100 percent 3D printed using additive manufacturing. It will be powered by liquified natural gas and liquid oxygen.

Satish Dhawan was an Indian aerospace engineer who was a pioneer experimental fluid dynamics research. He served as the third chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The nation’s spaceport is named after him.

Dhawan-1 will be used as the upper stage of Skyroot’s Vikram II booster. The company is developing three Vikram rockets to serve the small satellite launch market.

Vikrams will launch payloads ranging from 225 kg to 720 kg depending upon the rocket used and the orbit desired. Skyroot says the boosters can be assembled and launched within 24 to 72 hours with minimal infrastructure.

According to a story in the Economic Times, Skyroot was founded by three former ISRO employee who are looking to take advantage of India’s decision to allow private space companies to operate.

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Kleos Space Scouting Mission Launch Scheduled for November

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

LUXEMBOURG, 17 September 2020 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space S.A (ASX:KSS, Frankfurt:KS1), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company is pleased to provide an update on the Kleos Scouting Mission launching on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) PSLV-C49 Mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota Range in India (SHAR).

The Company has been informed (by NSIL via Spaceflight Inc.) that the launch of the four Kleos satellites planned on-board PSLV-C49 mission is being targeted during the 1st half of November 2020, based on the current status of planning of activities. This schedule is subject to change due to operational circumstances beyond NSIL control.

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Virtual Conference to Focus on Indian Space Program

PSLV-C48 launch (Credit: ISRO)

The virtual International Space Conference and Exhibition, scheduled for Sept. 15-17, will focus on the Indian government’s efforts to commercial its space program.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is organizing the conference in association with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Antrix Corporation Limited (ANTRIX) with support from NewSpace India Limited.

“Ushering the new era for Indian space sector” is the theme of the conference and exhibition. It will include the participation of Indian space officials and entrepreneurs as well as representatives from foreign space programs.

You can find more information about the conference and how to sign up here.

Russian Company to Provide Spacesuits for India

Indian astronaut in training. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Research, Development & Production Enterprise Zvezda under the contract of Glavkosmos with the Human Spaceflight Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has started manufacturing personal flight equipment for the Indian cosmonauts undergoing training in Russia.

“On September 3, Indian cosmonauts who have been training for a spaceflight in Russia under the contract of Glavkosmos, visited Zvezda, where their anthropometric parameters were measured for the subsequent production of spacesuits. The contract also provides for the production of individual seats and custom-made couch liners,” said CEO of Glavkosmos Dmitry Loskutov.

The contract for the production and delivery of individual equipment kits for Indian cosmonauts was signed by Glavkosmos and the Human Spaceflight Centre of ISRO on March 11, 2020. Indian cosmonauts have been training in Russia since February 10, 2020.

Indian Spaceport Becomes COVID-19 Hot Spot as Launch Drought Continues

PSLV rocket (Credit: ISRO)

The New Indian Express reports that India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center, which has not conducted a launch in nine months, has become a COVID-19 hot spot.

For the second day in a row, India’s spaceport has recorded around 31 new Covid-19 cases causing serious headache for the administration. A total of 90 people, who were primary and secondary contacts of infected persons, were tested of which 31 are diagnosed positive.

Despite the sudden spurt in cases, Shar administration has decided not to suspend the operations and 50 per cent staff are asked to attend the duty. “The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) works are going on in full swing. We are hopeful of launching maiden SSLV flight by end of this year,” a senior ISRO official said….

But, the people who are worst affected are the contract engineers residing outside Shar colonies. A contract employee said that he did not receive salary since last four months and with rising Covid-19 cases the possibility of a call back looks grim.

ISRO has not conducted an orbital launch from the facility this year. The Indian space agency usually launches five or six times annually. India’s most recent launch was on Dec. 11, 2019.

ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Launch Center Operating with Minimal Staff as COVID-19 Cases Rise

GSLV Mk III booster lifts off. (Credit: ISRO)

Due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre has suspended all regular activities for the time being. The New Indian Express reports:

“In view of the considerable number of Covid-19 positive cases in Shar and Sullurpeta housing colonies, it is essential to trace the primary contacts, test and isolate them to avoid further spread. All the office premises need to be fumigated and sanitised wherever the Covid positive employees had worked. Hence, the regular activities of SDSC Shar are suspended till completion of aforementioned activities,” said Shar controller V Kumbakarnan, in an official circular dated August 15, which is accessed by The New Indian Express. 

Meanwhile, Pulicat Nagar employees colony, where maximum number of Covid-19 cases are diagnosed, has been placed on strict lockdown.

It is unclear how long normal activities at India’s spaceport will be suspended. The story also gave no indication of how serious the outbreak of COVID-19 is at the center.

ISRO, which typically conducts five or six orbital launches annually, has yet to launch in 2020. The space agency’s most recent launch was in December 2019.

Launches known to be on the manifest include:

  • GSLV Mk.2 — GEO Imaging Satellite 1 (GISAT 1)
  • Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) maiden flight
  • PSLV — RISAT 2BR2 radar imaging satellite
  • SSLV — 4 BlackSky Global Earth observation satellites.

ISRO Schedules Webinar on Space Commercialization Plans

Webinar – Unlocking of India’s Potential in Space Sector

Join us along with Eminent personalities from Industries/Academia for a webinar on  Unlocking of India’s Potential in Space Sector scheduled on August 20, 2020, Thursday at 11:00 AM.

Discussion Topics:

  • Scope of IN-SPACe, institutional mechanism, industry promotion, application processes and opportunities
  • Role of NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL).

Webinar consists of four sessions. First session is Introductory session (11:00 am to 12:30 pm), followed by three thematic sessions as below

  1. Launch Vehicles and Satellites (01:00 pm to 02:30 pm)
  2. Space Technology Applications (03:00 pm to 04:30 pm)
  3. Academia and Institutions (05:00 pm to 06:30 pm)

Webinar will also have a feature of Question/Answer in each thematic session consisting of Industrialist/Academia/Start-ups as well as general public.

Registration received from Industries/Academia/Individuals for the earlier announced dates are valid for webinar rescheduled on August 20, 2020.

For those who are yet to register, kindly click on https://industrymeet.isro.gov.in

Kindly provide your feedback and Questions along with registration to make the webinar more informative.

For correspondence contact: in-space@isro.gov.in

Kleos to Launch Second Satellite Cluster on SpaceX Falcon 9

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

LUXEMBOURG, 13 August 2020 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service company, today announces that as part of the expansion of its constellation a contract has been signed with rideshare provider Spaceflight Inc to manifest a cluster of Kleos satellites on the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch, scheduled for mid-2021.

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Indian Pilots Continue Spaceflight Training at Gagarin Center in Russia

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Indian cosmonauts are undergoing training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) following the courses of the general space training program and of the systems of the Soyuz MS crewed spacecraft. The completion of their training at GCTC is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.

The contract for the Indian candidates’ training for a spaceflight was signed between Gavkosmos and the Human Spaceflight Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation on June 27, 2019.  On February 10, 2020, GCTC started training of the four Indian cosmonauts.

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Unlocking India’s Potential in Space Sector

As Approved by the Union Cabinet on 24 June 2020

The Indian Space programme is characterized by a vision to use space technology for national development. The primary objective of the space programme is to establish operational space services in a self-reliant manner in the thrust areas of satellite communication, satellite-based resource survey/management, satellite navigation, satellite meteorological applications and other emerging areas and to carry out sustained research and development in these areas.

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Kleos Space Placement and Strategic Integrator Partner Signed

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)
  • Placement of 10,000,000 CDIs1 at for a total €1.8 million raise
  • An Integrator and Channel Partner Agreement with Red Group Technologies Inc. (RGT) for their advanced analytics product suite

LUXEMBOURG, 10 July 2020 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data provider, has received commitments from entities controlled by Janet Cameron to raise €1.8 million via the issue of 10,000,000 new ordinary fully paid CDIs.

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Kleos Space to Launch Development Technology in Early July

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

LUXEMBOURG, 26 June 2020 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space S.A. (ASX : KSS, Francfort : KS1), the Luxembourg RF Earth Observation Company, is launching new data collecting technology (software defined radio payload) integrated in an In-Space Missions (In-Space) Faraday-1 spacecraft to be launched into a sun-synchronous orbit from New Zealand by Rocket Lab in a weeks’ time as part of the Company’s R&D programme.

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ISRO Outlines Plans to Commercialize Space Sector

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — Opening up of the space sector is part of the larger vision of transforming India to become self-reliant through a set of socio-economic reforms. The reforms in the space sector are aimed at tapping the potential of entire country for unlocking its potential by enabling private enterprises and start-ups to undertake end-to-end space activities.

In addition, the reforms are also aimed at mitigating the large and upfront investments required to set up facilities for undertaking space activities through sharing of such existing facilities under ISRO.

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ISRO Announces Reforms to Allow Private Sector to Commercialize Space Activities

Dr. K Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary of the Department of Space, announced that India is privatizing its space industry.

A key reform is the creation of an autonomous Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre within the Department of Space that will oversee permitting and regulating private space companies. There will be board composed of government, industry and academic representatives.

ISRO will also

  • provide access to agency facilities to private companies;
  • modify its satellite and space navigation policies;
  • commercialize such activities as launches and communications; and,
  • transition from a supply driven to a demand driven model for space services.

ISRO will focus on science missions, human spaceflight and other activities.

ISRO, ARIES Sign MOU on Space Situational Awareness, Astrophysics Cooperation

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Bengaluru and Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital for cooperation in the field of Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and Astrophysics was signed by Shri.R. Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Prof. (Dr.) Dipankar Banerjee, Director, ARIES through video at ISRO Headquarters and ARIES Headquarters on 4th June 2020. 

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