Elon Musk’s trajectory to becoming the world’s richest man is closely tied to the success of Tesla and SpaceX. Similarly, in India, Pawan Kumar Chandana, an alumnus of IIT and former ISRO employee, identified a similar opportunity and co-founded Skyroot Aerospace, the country’s first private space company. Alongside his fellow IITian and ex-ISRO colleague Naga Bharat Daka, Chandana played a crucial role in the development of India’s first private rocket, Vikram-S.

Skyroot Aerospace leverages ISRO’s services for integration facility, launchpad, range communications, and tracking support at a reasonable fee. The Vikram-S rocket, designed entirely in-house with a few imported sensors, was successfully launched from Sriharikota on November 18, 2022, carrying three small satellites. The rockets developed by Skyroot include Vikram-1-1 and Vikram-2-2, both named in tribute to Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space program.

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Pawan Kumar Chandana initiated Skyroot Aerospace after spending six years as a scientist at ISRO. The Hyderabad-based private space company has secured $95 million in funding to date, with the most recent being a pre-Series C funding of Rs 225 crore ($27 million) by Temasek. During the Series B round in 2022, the company was valued at around Rs 1,304 crore (approximately $165 million). Skyroot has emerged as a leading player in India’s private space sector, which is projected to be a $100 billion market by 2040.