Source : Business Today
|India’s first private rocket Vikram-S built by Skyroot Aerospace lifts off from a launch pad in Sriharikota, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (PTI image)|
Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven… Six… Five… Four… Three… Two… One… Zero…!!!
And as the 546-kilo white and blue Vikram-S suborbital launch vehicle or rocket streaked into the skies from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Sounding Rocket Complex at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota Range launchpad at 1130 hrs on Friday, the country’s space industry achieved an important milestone.
The mission named ‘Prarambh’ – meaning “the beginning” in Sanskrit – marks the successful launch of India’s first privately made rocket by the Kondapur (Telengana)-based spacetech start-up Skyroot Aerospace within two years of the country opening up its space sector to private companies.
Twenty seconds into launch, Vikram-S crossed Mach-5, which is five times the speed of sound. The peak altitude of 88 kilometres was reached 155 seconds into the launch. The rocket successfully reached the thermosphere, lying between 50-400 kilometres of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister of state (independent charge) for the ministries of science & technology and earth sciences, and prime minister Narendra Modi’s deputy in the Department of Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh, said, “It is indeed a new beginning, a new dawn… Or as our team members have put it, a new prarambh (beginning) in the journey of India’s space programme.”
A jubilant Dr. Singh added, “It’s a major step towards India developing its space ecosystem and emerging in the frontline in the community of world nations. It’s also a turning point in India’s start-up movement.”
Thanking ISRO for its support, IN-SPACe chairperson, Dr. Pawan Goenka, said, “This is a new beginning for the Indian private sector entering into space and a historic movement for all of us.”
Expressing his gratitude to prime minister Modi, ISRO and IN-SPACe for their continued support, a visibly relieved and emotional co-founder and CEO of Skyroot Aerospace, Pawan Kumar Chandana remarked, “This Prarambh Mission not only symbolises India’s first private rocket launch, but it also symbolises the potential of New India… This is a small step by a space start-up and a giant leap for the Indian space industry!”
According to experts, sounding rockets are designed to carry a select payload along a parabolic trajectory. They typically spend only a few minutes in space at lower vehicle speeds for pre-determined scientific experiments or as part of technology demonstration flight. The launch of Vikram-S belongs to the latter category.
The flight data generated by the mission will be utilised by Skyroot to plan for their future missions using their Vikram Series of launch vehicles. Among other things, it will help the company assess the effectiveness of inflight avionics, including telemetry, tracking, inertial measurement, GPS, camera, and data acquisition and power systems.