India's first privately built rocket, Vikram-S, launched by ISRO
Vikram-S has been developed by Skyroot Aerospace. The launch marks the entry of private players in the space sector.
India's first privately built rocket - Vikram-suborbital (VKS)- was launched by the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) on Friday. The rocket - developed by Skyroot Aerospace - has been named after Vikram Sarabhai, hailed as the father of India's space sector. In a bid to symbolise a new start, the mission has been named 'Prarambh', which literally translates as "begining".
The launch took place from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at around 11.30 am. The rocket was said to have achieved the peak apogee of 89 km while the target was 80 km.
Dr Pawan Kumar Goenka, chairman, IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre), called it a "milestone" and "a new era" in the space history of India with a private player witnessing a successful launch. "This is a new beginning for the private players with this entry in the space sector," he asserted.
This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had opened the space sector for participation by private players in June 2020. The government had called it a big reform amid the push for 'Make-in-India' scheme.
Earlier this week, union minister Jitendra Singh tweeted: "Following PM @narendramodi's decision to open Space sector for private participation, India all set to make history by launching from Sriharikota the first-ever private Rocket "Vikram-S" developed by #StartUp "Skyroot Aerospace" under the guidance of #ISRO. #OpeningSpaceForAll (sic)."
The union minister also attended the launch on Friday. He also shared a photo with the team. "This is indeed a new prarambh (start) for the private space sector," he said at the event. "This is a turning point in India 's startup movement."
According to Skyroot Aersopace, Vikram "is a series of modular Space launch vehicles especially crafted for the small satellite market." "Launching satellites to space will soon become as easy as booking a cab - Quick, precise and affordable! (sic)," the firm says on its official website.
Over 20,000 small satellites are estimated to be launched in the coming decade, the firm says, and the "Vikram series is designed to enable this through unprecedented mass producibility and affordability." "The leading technology architecture of Vikram vehicles offers unique capabilities like multi orbit insertion, interplanetary missions; while providing customized, dedicated and ride share options covering a wide spectrum of small satellite customer needs," it underlines.