India’s first private rocket that was launched two weeks ago crossed the edge of space before splashing back into the Bay of Bengal, in a successful pilot run that heralds the entry of the private sector into the country’s space activities and sets the stage for more such launches.
The small 6-metre tall Vikram S suborbital vehicle, developed by a four-year-old startup called Skyroot Aerospace, reached an altitude of 89.5 km around 2.5 minutes after the launch from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) sounding rocket facility at Sriharikota. The target for the rocket was to reach space, which begins at an altitude of around 80 km, and to attempt touching the Karman Line located at around the 100-km altitude mark. The Karman Line is the point where Earth’s atmosphere ends but satellites cannot be stably put into orbit.
he mission, named Prarambh, would have been considered a success even at an altitude of 50 km, considering its main goal — checking most of the subsystems that will be used in the company’s first orbital flight using the Vikram-1 vehicle, scheduled for next year.
In fact, the three customer payloads on-board — including SpaceKidz India’s FunSat — were non-deployable. They carried sensors and instruments to validate the flight-worthiness and payload integration process for Vikram-S.
“This is a small step by a startup and a giant leap for the Indian Space Industry. It’s the Prarambh of a great future,” said Pawan Chandna, mission director and co-founder of Skyroot Aerospace.
India's space economy is likely to be worth nearly $13 billion by 2025, with the satellite launch services segment set to witness the fastest growth due to increasing private participation
The growing demand for smaller satellites is set to boost satellite manufacturing in the country. It will attract global start-ups in the sector to help incubate space tech companies here, said the report released by the Indian Space Association (ISpA) and Ernst and Young.
India's space economy was pegged at $9.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to touch $12.8 billion by 2025, according to the report titled 'Developing the Space Ecosystem in India: Focusing on Inclusive Growth'.
In dollar terms, the satellite services and applications segment would be the largest with a turnover of $4.6 billion by 2025, followed by ground segment at $4 billion. The satellite manufacturing stands at $3.2 billion and launch services at $1 billion.
"Indian space launch is expected to get a boost due to the government's positive step towards the inclusion of private players in the Indian space ecosystem," the report said.
The launch services segment was pegged at $600 million in 2020 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13 per cent to reach $1 billion by 2025, the report said.
"The availability of low-cost satellite launch vehicles coupled with mass production will lead to demand from customers around the world. Indian private companies are looking to exploit the space industry by using innovative technologies," it said.
"It will be key to attracting global start-ups working in the space sector and help to incubate space tech companies in India," the report added.
AK Bhatt, Director General, Indian Space Association (ISpA), said: “India’s space economy is set to grow to $13 billion and the space launch segment is estimated to grow the fastest by 2025 at a compounded annual growth rate of 13%. This will be further spurred by growing private participation, latest technology adoption and low cost of launch services. This launch is a major landmark for this growth to take place in the coming years.”
Edited by Ragul Senthil: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ragulms