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India's first privately made rocket, Vikram Suborbital (Vikram-S) blasted off today from ISRO's Satish Dhawan launch centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
Vikram-S is the work of Hyderabad-based space startup Skyroot. The Vikram-S, as part of mission 'Prarambh' (Hindi for beginning), lifted off from Sriharikota island at around 11:30 a.m. today.
The Vikram-S rocket hit a peak altitude of 89.5 kilometres, well over the targeted peak altitude of 80km. The nation's first privately built rocket splashed down into the Bay of Bengal about 5 minutes after it launched off on its historic journey into the frontier of space
The Skyroot Vikram-S rocket that blasted off into space today can hit speeds of up to five times the speed of sound (Mach 5). Skyroot states that the Vikram-S rocket can carry a payload of up to 83 kilogrammes to an altitude of 100 kilometres.
The Vikram-S is part of Skyroot's 'Vikram' series of space rockets. The rocket series takes its name from scientist Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India's space program and the first-ever chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The Vikram-S launched today is a single-stage spin-stabilised solid propellant rocket. Vikram-S has been built on upgradeable architecture with carbon composites and sports 3-D printed motors.
Skyroot's website shows that it is working on three more rockets bearing the Vikram name. The Vikram I is a multi-stage rocket that can carry payloads as heavy as 480 kilogrammes up to a 500km Low Inclination Orbit. The Vikram I can carry payloads as heavy as 290kg up to 500km Sun-synchronous polar orbits (SSPOs). The Vikram I uses an Orbital Adjustment Module with re-start capability for multi-orbit insertions.
The second of the three Vikram multi-stage rockets is the Vikram II. In the Vikram II, the Vikram I's upper stage gets replaced by a cryogenic engine with re-start capability that enables multi-orbit insertions. The Vikram II will be able to carry loads as heavy as 595kg into 500km Low Inclination orbit and 400kg payloads to 500km SSPOs.
The Vikram III is an upgrade for the Vikram II and adds additional solid rocket boosters to the main rocket. This will allows the Vikram III to carry payloads as heavy as 815kg to 500km Low Inclination Orbit and 560kg to 500km SSPO.
Thoughts About The Launch Of The Vikram S
The launch of the Vikram S marks the first time a privately built rocket has blasted off from Indian soil. The Vikram S shows that India's nascent private space industry is looking to really start flexing its muscles to provide a more cost-efficient way of getting stuff into space.