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ISRO Launches India’s First Private Rocket, Vikram-S Successfully

The Vikram-S rocket reached a maximum altitude of 89.9 kilometres while travelling at Mach 5 and all mission parameters were met by the launch vehicles, according to the Skyroot

Photo Credit : ISRO


Skyroot Aerospace launched India's first privately built rocket, Vikram-S on Friday. The successful launch marks the entry of the private sector into India's space program, which has previously been controlled and funded by the government.

The Vikram-S rocket took off from the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre's rocket complex in Sriharikota. The rocket carried three payloads into space, reaching an altitude of more than 90 kilometres.

According to the company, the Vikram-S rocket reached a maximum altitude of 89.9 kilometres while travelling at Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. All mission parameters were met by the launch vehicles, paving the way for the company to launch the Vikram-I rocket next year.

“Today, we made history when we launched India's first private rocket. It is a symbol of the new India and the Prarambh of a bright future,” Skyroot Aerospace Co-Founder Pawan Kumar Chandanam said after the launch.

While this was a demonstration mission, it was still a full-scale suborbital launch for the company, with the goal of strengthening the company's private space sector. The mission validated the Vikram rocket's technology, engine and designs, demonstrating that it can launch heavy payloads into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

The Vikram rocket, named after Vikram Sarabhai, the founder of India's space program, is being developed in three variants by the company. While the Vikram-I can carry 480 kilogrammes of payload into LEO, the Vikram-II can carry 595 kilograms. Meanwhile, Vikram-III can launch to a 500 km Low Inclination Orbit with an 815 kg payload.

The mission marks the entry of the private sector into the Indian space programme, following in the footsteps of the United States, Europe and China. Skyroot developed the rocket, but ISRO provided expertise and testing facilities for the systems and technological developments.

The development demonstrates that the private sector is capable of not only developing and designing these launch vehicles but also attracting customers and investments into an industry that has previously been heavily reliant on the public purse.

India recently opened its space sector to private companies, demonstrating that the system is functional. ISRO and InSpace have collaborated closely with private companies to provide expertise and technical know-how about rocket system systems and complex designs.

Jitendra Singh, Minister of Science and Technology who attended the launch, said, “It is a new beginning, a new dawn and a new journey in India's space program's journey. It is a significant step forward for India in developing its own rockets, as well as a watershed moment in India's startup movement. He also congratulated the company, Skyroot.

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