India’s private sector today took its first step into the country’s space sector by successfully launching a rocket carrying three satellites.
Vikram-S, the rocket made by four-year-old Hyderabad-based startup Skyroot Aerospace, lifted off at 11.30 am from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Sriharikota range on India’s southwestern coast.
In less than five minutes, it had reportedly fallen into the Bay of Bengal—but not before placing its payload in space as planned. The three satellites were built by Andhra Pradesh-based N Space Tech India, Chennai-based startup Space Kids, and Armenian BazoomQ Space Research Lab.
Soon after the success of the mission, named “Prarambh” (the beginning), ISRO took to its Twitter account to confirm the development.
Ascent of @SkyrootA’s Vikram-S launcher today from Sriharikota #MissionPrarambh pic.twitter.com/ysXWA61FgB
— ISRO (@isro) November 18, 2022
“Vikram-S soared to an altitude of 89.5 km after its launch and met all the parameters,” Skyroot Aerospace said.
A new beginning for the Indian space sector
Last year, the Indian government decided to open up its space technology sector to private companies. It also launched a programme to promote collaboration between them and ISRO. Skyroot was the first startup to sign up.
Skyroot’s Vikram S, a single-stage suborbital rocket powered by solid-fuel propulsion, is itself named after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of Indian space research.
“The Vikram-S rocket...would help test and validate the majority of the technologies in the Vikram series of space launch vehicles,” Naga Bharath Daka, chief operating officer of Skyroot Aerospace, had said earlier in a statement.
After Vikram-S, Skyroot plans to launch two other rockets in the Vikram series.