History was made when India’s maiden private rocket was launched by a Skyroot Aerospace from Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) launch pad in Sriharikota. It was one of the first space startups to sign a MoU with ISRO to launch its rockets in 2021.
What does it mean for India’s Space Economy?
The Indian Space economy is expected to grow to almost US$ 13 billion and the space launch segment is set to grow the fastest by 2025 at a CAGR of 13 percent. This launch sector will grow further due to the growing participation of private sector’s participation, low cost launch services as well as adoption of latest technology.
About the launch
The Vikram-S sub-orbital solid stage rocket was launched successfully early morning on November 18, 2022 and according to the company reached an apogee of 89.5 kilometers and it met all the mission criteria.
The launch which was scheduled to take place on November 15 had to be rescheduled due to the inclement weather. The space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) had given a launch window between November 15 and 19, 2022.
Significance of the launch
According to an official note of the company, through the successful launch of the Vikram-S rocket, 80 percent of the technologies have been validated. This means that these will be used in the launch of the Vikram-1 orbital vehicle that is planned to be launched next year.
In the launch on Friday, it had carried the payloads of three other private sector companies including N-Space Tech India, Space Kidz India, and Bazoomq Armenia.
Why named Prarambh?
As has been reported earlier the mission was named `Prarambh’ (means the beginning) – this signified the launch of the first private sector company’s launch from ISRO launch pad.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that the rocket that was launched was built over two years and advanced technologies were used like carbon composite structures and 3D-printed components.
Terming it a pivotal moment, the co-founder Pawan Kuman Chandana of Hyderabad based Skyroot said that the quick flight data of the rocket confirmed that data points related to all aspects of the mission performed as per expectations.
Another co-founder Naga Bharath Daka, highlighted the partnership between the Skyroot Aerospace, ISRO and IN-SPACe – creating a perfect ecosystem for more missions.
A view from Indian Space Association (ISpA)
Following the launch of the country’s first private rocket from Sriharikota, Lt Gen AK Bhatt, Director General, Indian Space Association said that this has enhanced the credibility for Indian private players round the globe as well as the capability the private sector that has been claiming was demonstrated in space.
According to him Skyroot since its inception in 2018 has come a long way showcasing its expertise in manufacturing small lift launch vehicles. Vikram-S was manufactured in just two years.
It started following the announcement by the government in May/June 2020 of allowing private sector companies to enter space.
Financial Express Online has reported in 2020 that the government passed the reforms in the space sector and had in that year set up the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe). This was done to allow the private sector companies in the space sector to use the infrastructure of ISRO for their launches.
Also, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) was established as ISRO’s commercial arm and to work closely with the startups and private players in an effort to boost the developments in space in India.
Vikram-S has its hypergolic-fuel upper-stage engine named after CV Raman; then it has a solid-fuel rocket engine named after former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam.
Vikram-1 which is expected to be launched in 2023 is named after Vikram Sarabhai – an Indian physicist and astronomer and he was the one who initiated space research in the country and also helped to develop nuclear power.
The company is already working closely with other countries and companies globally. It has agreements with companies like Innova Space of Argentina, Ride and ConnectSAT of France and Hex20 of Australia, among others.