A leap forward in space!

The recent launch of Vikram-S, India’s first privately produced rocket, from ISRO’s launch pad in Sriharikota marks an
important milestone in the country’s space exploration. It is the first of a series of considerably larger rockets to be
developed by Skyroot Aerospace, a four-year-old Hyderabad-based start-up. The rocket, named after the country’s
space programme’s founder, Vikram Sarabhai, marks the end of Mission Prarambh. It had three payloads, two of
which belonged to domestic consumers and one to a foreign client. This contained a 2.5-kg payload from Chennai-
based Spacekidz, which was constructed by students from India, the United States, Singapore, and Indonesia. Until
date, the country’s space programme has been monopolised by the state-run ISRO. However, India has numerous
needs, opportunities, talents, and potential in the space industry that exceeds the breadth and capabilities of a single
government organisation to satisfy and realise.
The importance of the private sector in space research and enterprise has been best proven in the United
States, where private businesses such as SpaceX have had a technological and commercial impact. The
Vikram-S mission will provide new opportunities in India. Various organisations and agencies, such as
universities, enterprises, and research laboratories, want information, and tiny satellites and rockets created
in-house and at a low cost are the solution. Satellites can be launched on vehicles like Vikram, with enormous
benefits to , the , research, and . There will be an increase in activity in the
industry, with the government estimating that over 20,000 tiny satellites will be launched over the next
decade. They are simple to construct and inexpensive. Skyroot typified the spirit when it stated that satellite
launches will become as normal as hailing a cab in the future years.
ISRO has aided commercial businesses by providing testing and launch facilities for rockets and satellites.
Agnikul Cosmos, a Chennai-based start-up, has tested its first rocket engine from Thiruvanthapuram’s Vikram
Sarabhai Space Centre. It intends to launch its rocket, Agnibaan, commercially very soon. This year saw the
opening of the Ahmedabad-based Indian Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the
country’s promoter of what has come to be known as New Space. It serves as a focal point for the promotion,
encouragement, and regulation of government and commercial sector space operations. It would also make it
easier for private operators to utilize ISRO facilities.
Given India’s strength in its talented and dynamic youth, the event may open a flowwodgate for a large
number of entrepreneurs to venture into the space sector. Space gives up numerous opportunities, and the country,
which has more than 350 enterprises in the space sector, should be able to take use of them.