India achieves a big milestone with the launch of the first private rocket.This rocket is made by a Hyderabad-based start-up Skyroot Aerospace . It has been successfully launched by ISRO.
The mission has been named 'Prarambh,' which means 'beginning,' to commemorate the beginning of private sector launches in India.The Vikram-S rocket, which carried three customer payloads, was launched from the rocket complex of ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The rocket derives its name Vikram S, from the father of Indian Space Program, Dr Vikram S Sarabhai.
Skyroot has joined the league of a handful, elite companies around the world that have successfully ventured into space launches. SpaceX from the US holds the top spot here.
All countries around the world are vying for supremacy in space. National Space programs alone cant meet this ambition. Participation of the private sector is needed to make this happen.
Today, ISRO alone can’t meet the growing satellite data needs of the country. Space data is needed in urban planning, weather assessments, agriculture, transport and several other strategic fields.
This realisation led to the opening of the Indian space program to the private sector in 2020 through passing of the Space Activities Bill in the Parliament. Today start-ups like Skyroot are nourished under ISRO’s wings to support the launch of commercial satellites.
India under ISRO has established itself as a credible player in the space economy. ISRO has been commercially taking several payloads of other countries on its rockets since over a decade. A great advantage associated with the commercial launches of foreign satellites is the earning of foreign exchange.
The global Space Economy is worth 360 bn US dollars. Indian industry share is only 3 % in this huge pie. Private players in the space industry had been supplying components and subsystems supplier till now, which is witnessing a change with the entry of startups like Skyroot. The private players are not expected to play a frontal role with more space launches.
The brains behind Skyroot are scientists who have worked with ISRO earlier. Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka were ISRO employees who left the government sector to start India’s first space start-up once they got a whiff of the opportunity lying in the private sector
Skyroot got a shot in the arm with a massive funding of 68 mn US dollars. Its success has paved the road for other space start-ups to fill the space and grab the opportunity in the global space economy.
Richa Jain Kalra is a seasoned editor who has been a leading news anchor on national television for over 18 years. She is a master communicator driven by the purpose of making a positive impact on society.