Skyroot partners with Bellatrix Aerospace for orbital transfer vehicle technology

Skyroot partners with Bellatrix Aerospace for orbital transfer vehicle technology
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
8 Feb, 2021

Days after its collaboration with ISRO, Hyderabad-based space-tech startup Skyroot Aerospace has announced a partnership with Bellatrix Aerospace.

The partnership will allow Skyroot to use the Bengaluru headquartered startup’s orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) technology for its homegrown Vikram series of rockets, a statement said.

The transfer vehicle being built by Bellatrix would be integrated with the upper stage of Vikram rockets, enabling a more sophisticated system of satellite delivery, the statement said.

The vehicle would work as a space taxi of sorts, and perform a range of in-orbit operations, including the deployment of payloads to precise orbits. This will enable Vikram rockets to take satellites to more operational orbits than what has been conventionally possible.

The companies, the statement said, plan to launch the first mission involving a Vikram rocket and Bellatrix’s OTV by 2023.

“We are confident that this partnership will help us serve complex mission requirements and at the same time reduce the cost of access to space. The increasing demand for timely satellite constellation deployment in different orbits and on rideshare missions has not only made OTVs attractive, but also necessary,” Rohan Muralidhar, CEO of Bellatrix Aerospace, said.“We are happy to announce that Bellatrix Aerospace is now developing highly efficient and cost-effective OTVs.”

Founded in 2015 by Muralidhar and Yashas Karanam, Bellatrix is a space solution provider, offering both chemical and electric propulsion technologies. The company is in the process of developing OTVs based on advanced propulsion technologies for precise orbital insertion of satellites. It looks to be a contractor for developing and operating effective and cost-efficient satellite platforms for complex missions.

Read more: ISRO forms a new body for private space-tech players

Skyroot, on the other hand, has been working on Vikram launch vehicles, which will take the payload and OTV to space. 

The company, which was founded in 2018 by former ISRO scientists Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Dakahas, has carried out initial rocket stage tests and is planning to conduct more at ISRO’s facilities soon. Its first launch vehicle, Vikram I, is expected to take to the skies for the first time by December 2021.

Both Skyroot and Bellatrix won this year’s National Startup Award under launch vehicles and satellite categories, and also partnered with Dhruva Space, another homegrown space-tech player, to further private space efforts in India.