Vikram-S marks ‘Beginning’ of private venture in Indian space sector with success
   Date :19-Nov-2022

By S Vijay Karthik
INDIA on Friday successfully launched its first privately-made rocket, developed by a four year-old startup, marking the entry of the private sector into the country’s space ecosystem which is currently dominated by the state-run behemoth ISRO. The rocket, Vikram-S named in a befitting tribute to the father of the country’s space programme Vikram Sarabhai, tasted success in its maiden mission.
In the process, the firm became the first privately-held company in India after the space sector was opened for the private players by the Centre in 2020. The three payloads that rode piggyback on the rocket are from Chennai-based start-up SpaceKidz, Andhra Pradesh-based N-SpaceTech and Armenian BazoomQ Space Research Lab.
Later in the day, a Skyroot Aerospace official, said “this is suborbital mission and it (the payloads were) is never meant to deploy. Those payloads were sent (along with the rocket) to check certain parameters..”
“..Payloads were not deployed into the orbit”, he said without elaborating. Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (INSPACe) Chairman, Pawan Goenka from ISRO’s Mission Control Centre, said, “I am happy to announce the successful completion of Mission Prarambh, The Beginning, by Skyroot aerospace” .
The rocket achieved an altitude of 89.5 km and a range of 121.2 km, “exactly what was planned by Skyroot Aerospace,” he said. It “worked as planned” and Skyroot Aerospace has demonstrated various capability of sub-systems that will go into the orbital launch vehicle, he added. The vehicle integrated into the launcher soared after lifting off at the prefixed 11.30 am from the sounding rocket complex at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), here, about 115 km from Chennai.
The Mission unveiled by ISRO Chairman S Somanath had three payloads with two belonging to domestic customers and one from a foreign client. The 6-metre tall rocket is one of the world’s first few all-composite ones that has 3-D printed solid thrusters for spin stability of the launch vehicle. “This is a new beginning for the Indian private sector entering aerospace and a historic moment for all of us,” Goenka said.
Pawan Chandana, Skyroot Aerospace co-founder said, all the required mission objectives were completed.
“This Prarambh mission as the name signifies is the beginning of a new era in the Indian space ecosystem. Team Skyroot dedicates this successful mission to Dr Vikram Sarabhai, who boldly started the Indian space programme in the 1960s, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for unlocking the space sector to private players,” Chandana, also the Mission Director for Friday’s launch, said. “This Prarambh mission symbolises not only India’s first private rocket launch, it also symbolises the potential of new India,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the launch as “historic” and said that the accomplishment bears testimony to the immense talent of India’s youth who took full advantage of the landmark space sector reforms of June 2020.