Vikram-S, India’s first privately built rocket: Experts laud ISRO and Skyroot Aerospace on historic achievement

Indian aerospace industry took a much-needed stride into the space launch market on Friday, as Skyroot Aerospace, a private company, launched India’s first privately made rocket into space. Vikram-S, developed over two years by Skyroot Aerospace, a company started in 2018, is a single-stage solid-fuel rocket meant to test nearly 80 per cent of all systems and processes before the launch of Vikram-1 scheduled for next year.

“We made history today by launching India’s first private rocket. It is a symbol of new India and just the #Prarambh of a great future,” said Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-Founder Skyroot Aerospace, minutes after Vikram-S was launched from the sounding rocket complex, Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

According to ISRO, the launch is sub-orbital, with the vehicle travelling slower than orbital velocity, meaning the vehicle will reach outer space but will not remain in orbit around the Earth. The flight will take less than five minutes.

Dr. Surendra Pal, former senior adviser satellite navigation ISRO, told The Quotes that it’s a significant achievement for a start-up in Indian aerospace paradigm, which started in 2020.

“ISRO has taken several steps in the right direction. First, Skyroot Aerospace deserves a lot of applause for utilizing present-day technologies and the expertise of Ex-ISRO scientists and NASA experts in order to achieve this mind-blowing achievement,” said Dr. Pal.

He further informed that the elements like a whole carbon composite structure, 3D printed thrusters, and components with equipment deck having miniaturized electronics, camera, processors, and advanced sensors to monitor all the possible parameters of the rocket, will be tested in the first flight itself, stating it ‘a significant achievement.’

The Vikram series of rockets are named after Vikram Sarabhai, the founder of the Indian space programme. These rockets are among the few launch vehicles in the world which have their core structure built using carbon composites, and thrusters used for spin stability in the vehicle have been 3D printed.

According to Skyroot Aerospace, the engines used in the launch vehicle were named after former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The spacecraft is set to carry three payloads developed by SpaceKids India, Bazoomq Armenia, and N-Space Tech India.

“The development in the future can provide a launch on demand for small satellites for remote sensing, weather monitoring, and even for quick defence surveillance applications. SpaceX has shown the importance of small satellites for communication, the internet, and even navigation in the recent Ukraine-Russia war,” added Dr. Surender Pal.

Dr. Pal further stated that he feels the successful competition of the project is remarkable, and the Indian aerospace fraternity should be proud of it. “I hope it will open the Indian Launch market to the world, particularly for the countries or agencies that do not have their own launcher,” said Dr.

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Meanwhile, ISRO chairman S Somnath lauded the efforts of the ISRO for perfectly showing the correct direction to all the private companies in the Indian aerospace market. While speaking at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2022, Mr. Somnath said that a significant number of companies have the potential to become big players in the space sector and that ISRO is playing the role of facilitator for them, helping them in building technologies and providing the right research materials.

(With inputs from Indian Express, and India Today)

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