IN-SPACe and ISRO Facilitate Maiden Flight of India’s First Privately Designed and Built Rocket

The Vikram-S, sub-orbital rocket by Skyroot Aerospace launch has been enabled by IN-SPACe, in coordination with ISRO

India stands witness to history as the first-ever privately designed and built rocket from India took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The launch was enabled by the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), Department of Space (DOS), following their authorization of the maiden flight of a private Launch Vehicle by the Hyderabad based space start-up Skyroot Aerospace. Skyroot launched its maiden rocket under the launch mission named ‘PRARAMBH’ meaning ‘the beginning’, signifying a new era for the private space sector in India and the first mission for Skyroot. The Prarambh mission was unveiled by ISRO Chairman, Dr S Somanath in Bangalore on 7 November 2022 following the technical launch clearance issued from IN-SPACe.

The rocket Vikram S is a single-stage solid fuelled, sub-orbital rocket developed over two years by incorporating advanced technologies including carbon composite structures and 3D-printed components. Equipped with a gross lift off mass of 545kg, and payload mass of 80 kg, Vikram-S carried with it three customer payloads, which will map the measurement and validation of certain flight parameters and payload integration processes.

Standing witness to this historic flight, Union Minister of State Dr. Pawan K Goenka, chairman of IN-SPACe, Department of Space, said: “India holds tremendous potential in space and has been an enabler of epoch-making space missions for decades. This maiden rocket launch for Skyroot Aerospace is perhaps the most important milestone for the Indian private space sector since the space reforms announced by Government of India and hints at the rapid transformative journey we’re witnessing in India’s space sector. Though one small step, it is a giant leap to demonstrate the capabilities of the Indian Space sector.  Heartiest congratulations to all involved in the success of ‘Prarambh’ mission. A new space journey has begun.”

The lift off of VIKRAM-S from Sriharikota happened at 11.30 IST. The ranging and tracking operations for VIKRAM-S were handled by SDSC SHAR facility at ISRO. Telemetry data was captured by ISTRAC station of ISRO and relayed to the control room.

The launch of the Skyroot VKS rocket has been possible with the seamless joint efforts of various ISRO centres including SDSC SHAR, ISTRAC and VSSC, Skyroot team and IN-SPACe. The Technical Mission Readiness review committee members from ISRO and IN-SPACe rigorously reviewed launch vehicle and integration preparation and gave final launch clearance.

The Vikram-S rocket flight is a technology demonstration flight to showcase the capabilities of the company. The rocket will help validate the technologies that will be used in the subsequent Vikram-1 orbital vehicle of Skyroot that is planned for launch next year, subject to technical clearance by IN-SPACe.

The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Center (IN-SPACe) has been operating as a single-window, autonomous nodal agency of Department of Space (DOS) to boost private space sector economy in India. It has given five authorizations to the Space NGEs for undertaking space activities in India, in six months and signed Sixteen MoUs. Till date, IN-SPACe has received more than 150 applications from Space NGEs for Authorization, Facilitation, and Promotion. In their continued efforts to give India’s space sector a new and dynamic dimension, IN-SPACe’s enabling of Skyroot’s launch vehicle initiates a new chapter in India’s space domain.

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