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2 years, 200 engineers: Vikram-S, India's first private rocket, takes off

Shaurya Thapa
Shaurya ThapaNov 18, 2022 | 13:02

2 years, 200 engineers: Vikram-S, India's first private rocket, takes off

Vikram-S's success is a green flag for the future Vikram projects by Skyroot Aerospace (photo-DailyO)

Vikram-S, India's first privately-developed rocket lifted off successfully from Sriharikota's ISRO launch pad at 11.32 am today. Named after the founding father of India's space programme Vikram Sarabhai, the rocket was launched by Hyderabad-based aerospace manufacturer and commercial launch provider Skyroot Aerospace. 

As the rocket attained the expected peak altitude of 89.5 km, Skyroot tweeted, 

“Vikram-S rocket meets all flight parameters. It's history in the making for India.”

Crossing speeds of Mach-5, the rocket is expected to splash back safely in the Bay of Bengal (about 130 km from surface). 

What is the aim of Vikram-S’s launch? Vikram-S’s liftoff as a part of a mission titled Prarambh is meant to serve as a prelude for Skyroot’s further launches. 

Vikram-S lifts off (photo-Skyroot Aerospace)
Vikram-S lifts off (photo-Skyroot Aerospace)

In other words, the rocket is meant to test the required tech systems ahead of the launch of the upcoming Vikram-1 that is to be launched next year. Features like GPS tracking, camera, and data acquisition were also tested. 

What kind of rocket is it? Vikram-S is a suborbital rocket, implying that it can reach outer space but not orbit the planet. With a payload capacity of 83 kg at 100 km altitude and a length of approximately 27 ft, the rocket’s total mass amounts to 546 kg. 

3D Render of Vikram-S (photo-Skyroot Aerospace)
3D Render of Vikram-S (photo-Skyroot Aerospace)

Skyroot suggests that Vikram-S is one of the cheapest rockets of its kind. 

What went into its construction? The rocket was built in a span of two years with a team of over 200 engineers. As for its materials, the rocket boasts an all-carbon fibre core structure and its thrusters were 3D printed. 

The past and present of Skyroot: Interestingly, Skyroot was founded by two ex-ISRO engineers, 31-year-old Pawan Kumar Chandana and 32-year-old Naga Bharat Daka in 2018. Since then, the company has raised $68 million in funding. 

Skyroot Aerospace founders with Isro chairman while launching the mission patch. (Photo: Skyroot)
Skyroot Aerospace founders with ISRO chairman while launching the mission patch. (Photo: Skyroot)

And with ISRO actively supporting the private aerospace venture as seen in today’s launch, Indian space missions seem to have a brighter future with a mix of state-sponsored and private projects.

Last updated: November 18, 2022 | 13:02
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