On November 18, 2022, at precisely 11.30 a.m., the first privately developed rocket in India, the Vikram-S, launched from the Sriharikota launch pad of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The 6-metre-tall spacecraft, created by Hyderabad-based firm Skyroot Aerospace Private Limited, reached a top altitude of 89.5 kilometres before splashing down into the Bay of Bengal approximately five minutes later. The name of this expedition was Prarambh.
Over the course of two years, the Vikram-S rocket was created using cutting-edge technology such as carbon composite constructions and 3D-printed parts. It is a single-stage, solid fuel, suborbital rocket.
Vikram-S was equipped with three customer payloads that will map the measurement and validation of specific flight parameters and payload integration processes. Its gross take off mass was 545 kg, while its payload mass was 80 kg.
This flight served as a technological demonstration of the company’s capabilities. Subject to IN-technical SPACe’s approval, the rocket will aid in the validation of technology that will be utilised in Skyroot’s upcoming Vikram-1 orbital vehicle, which is scheduled for launch next year.(ISRO)
The largest funded private space start-up in India, Skyroot Aerospace was founded by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka in June 2018. It has 200 workers and has won two national awards for its work in space.
“We started four years ago, and there was no policy at the time, but we accepted the risk in good faith. But now that the strategy has been established, we have ISRO’s backing, according to Mr. Chandana.
The Vikram-S rocket accomplished the specified mission and met all flight requirements, reaching a max height of 89.5 kilometres, he continued.
Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Earth Sciences, and Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy, and Space, referred to this as “a new beginning, a new dawn” at a press conference following the launch. The construction of India’s own space ecosystem has just begun.(ISRO)
He emphasised how in June 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the space industry to private investors, enabling the enormous potential of the Indian Space Sector to be realised.
“We thought it would be a difficult journey, but they (Skyroot team) proved us wrong,” said S. Somnath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Secretary of the Department of Space (DoS).
According to Pawan K. Goenka, Chairman of IN-SPACe, Department of Space, our first Rohini was launched 55 years ago, and today we are beginning another voyage, with the difference being that this is by a private player.
He added that this Skyroot Aerospace first rocket launch marks perhaps the most significant achievement for the country’s private space industry since the Government of India announced its space reforms and gives a glimpse of the sector’s quick transformation. It is a “big leap” to show off the potential of the Indian space sector, he continued.
To support India’s commercial space sector economy, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) has been working as a single-window, independent nodal agency of the Department of Space (DOS).
In the past six months, it has inked 16 Memorandums of Understanding and granted five Space NGEs authorizations to conduct space activities in India. More than 150 requests from Space NGEs for Authorization, Facilitation, and Promotion have been received by IN-SPACe to date.
Skyroot Aerospace views Friday’s mission as a significant accomplishment because it will help test and validate the majority of the technologies in the Vikram series of orbital-class space launch vehicles, including numerous sub-systems and technologies that will be tested both prior to liftoff and during the launch itself.
Students from India, the United States, Singapore, and Indonesia constructed “Fun-Sat,” a 2.5 kilogramme payload for the Chennai-based aerospace business Spacekidz.
The Vikram II and Vikram III series make up the 545 kilogramme Vikram launch vehicle.
It was created by Skyroot Aerospace over the course of around two years using cutting-edge technologies, including carbon composite constructions and 3D-printed parts. With 200 workers and 526 crore in capital raised to date, the company launched by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka in June 2018 is the largest privately backed space startup in India. It has won two national awards.
“A historic moment for India as the rocket Vikram-S, developed by Skyroot Aerospace, lifted off from Sriharikota today,” the prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted following the launch. It represents a significant turning point for India’s private space industry. Congratulations to @isro & @INSPACeIND for doing this!
The rockets being developed by Skyroot are all named after Vikram Sarabhai, who started the Indian space programme.