India’s first private rocket Vikram-S built by Skyroot Aerospace lifts off from Sriharikota
New Delhi, Nov 18: In one of the historic moments for India’s space program, ISRO launched country’s first privately developed rocket, Vikram-S on a sub-orbital mission with three payloads. Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman of INSPACe said,”I am happy to announce the successful completion of Mission Prarambh – the beginning of Skyroot Aerospace.” The maiden mission was developed by four-year-old startup Skyroot Aerospace, named ‘Prarambh’ (the beginning), that will carry payloads of two Indian and one foreign customer and is set for launch from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s launchpad at Sriharikota.The 6-metre tall Vikram-S will soar to an altitude of around 81 km after its launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Spacekidz, a Chennai-based aerospace startup, will fly ‘Fun-Sat’, a 2.5 kg payload developed by students from India, the US, Singapore, and Indonesia on the sub-orbital flight onboard Vikram-S. The second one is Andhra Pradesh’s N-SpaceTech. Armenian BazoomQ Space Research Lab is the third and only foreign customer in the mission.This maiden mission which was developed in a record time of two years will pave the way for the private sector in the Indian space industry which enjoyed the monopoly of ISRO for decades. New era for the space sector in India If the mission is successful, Skyroot is set to become the first private space company in India to launch a rocket into space, heralding a new era for the space sector which was opened up in 2020 to facilitate private sector participation. In September 2020, Skyroot unveiled India’s first private cryogenic rocket engine that runs on LNG. This is also the first private company that has successfully designed, developed and tested a full solid propulsion rocket stage in India.A tribute to the father of the Indian Space Programme, Vikram Sarabhai Notably, Skyroot’s launch vehicles are named ‘Vikram’ as a tribute to the founder of the Indian Space programme ‘Vikram Sarabhai’. Vikram is a series of modular space launch vehicles especially crafted for the small satellite market, and is expected to enable the launch of more than 20,000 small satellites in the coming decade. The launch vehicles have unique capabilities like multi-orbit insertion and performing interplanetary missions, according to Skyroot Aerospace. Besides the launch vehicle, the space startup is also working on a cryogenic engine – Dhawan-I, named after former ISRO Chairman Satish Dhawan, which would operate on two high-performance rocket propellants, liquid natural gas and liquid oxygen.