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Private sector rocket maker Skyroot Aerospace has raised $11 million recently from a clutch of investors and is targeting a launch to orbit for its Vikram-1 rocket in 12 months, said a top company official.

We are aggressively targeting a launch to orbit in 12 months. Other than unavoidable delays due to the lockdowns, most of our development is on track,” Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-Founder, and CEO, told IANS.

“Our third stage (simply put rocket’s third engine) is nearing completion and other two stages are in various phases of manufacturing. We plan to go for full stage level testing soon,” Chandana added.

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The full-scale solid fuel stage will be tested at ISRO’s rocket port in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, Chandana had told IANS earlier.

Skyroot has signed an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to use the latter’s facilities in its rocket development, testing, and qualifying rocket.

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The ‘Vikram-1’ rocket has three solid fuel-powered stages, each with a burn time ranging between 80 and 100 seconds.

According to Chandana, the company is managing the Covid-19 lockdown situation by establishing a trusted vendor base who give preference and are committed to Skyroot.

“Also, we are using the extra time on making several design improvements which are yielding us time and cost benefits,” he said.

“Supply chain has slowed down and a lot of raw materials and manufacturing got stuck. This has put us back by a couple of quarters. However, we are taking more precautions and optimising processes in other ways to meet our schedules,” Chandana said on lockdown impact.

Meanwhile, the company beefed up its finances, raising $11 million from investors led by Greenko Group founders Anil Chalamalasetty and Mahesh Kolli, public listed entity Solar Industries, former WhatsApp CBO Neeraj Arora, existing investor Mukesh Bansal (founder of Myntra & CureFit), Worldquant Ventures, Graph Ventures, Sutton Capital, Vedanshu Investments, and few angels.

“This round adds more fuel to our rocket program and will support in completing development and testing of all subsystems of our first launch vehicle Vikram-1 and strengthening our world class team,” Naga Bharath Daka, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Skyroot, said.

“We started bookings for launches starting from mid next year and are actively engaging global customers. We intend to raise $40 million more to fund our aggressive growth plans over the next few years,” Daka added.

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