Ahmedabad/Bengaluru: Heralding a new age in India’s space sector, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), Department of Space (DOS), today authorised the first private sector launch of a Launch Vehicle by Skyroot Aerospace – a Hyderabad based space start-up. This will enable the first-ever launch of a privately designed and built rocket from India. The mission carries three customer payloads, and the launch is scheduled on November 18, 2022.
The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Center (IN-SPACe) has been operating as a single-window, autonomous nodal agency of Department of Space (DOS) to boost private space sector economy in India. In their continued efforts to give India’s space sector a new and dynamic dimension, IN-SPACe’s authorization of Skyroot’s launch vehicle initiates a new chapter in India’s space domain.
Skyroot Aerospace is a space startup founded by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka in June 2018. It is a two-time national award-winning space startup, with 200 employees, and is the largest funded private space start up in India with Rs 526 crore raised as capital till date.
Skyroot will be launching its maiden rocket under the launch mission ‘PRARAMBH’. The Prarambh mission was unveiled by ISRO Chairman, Dr. S. Somanath in Bangalore on November 7, 2022 after the technical launch clearance from IN-SPACe.
The mission aims to launch Vikram – S (VKS), a sub-orbital rocket from India’s spaceport the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, on November 18, 2022, between 11 AM-12 noon IST. VKS is a single-stage solid fuelled, sub-orbital rocket which has taken about 2 years to develop and has been built using advanced technologies including carbon composite structures and 3D-printed components.
Expressing delight on this historic milestone, Dr. Pawan K Goenka, Chairman of IN-SPACe, Department of Space, said, “India’s space sector is going through tremendous changes thanks to the government’s holistic policies to promote the space sector, and to facilitate involvement by private players. We’re truly delighted to have authorised Skyroot’s maiden mission, which will enable India’s first-ever private launch of a launch vehicle. I hope the Vikram-S rocket marks the start of a new age in India’s private space domain. The seamless joint efforts of various ISRO centres including SDSC SHAR, ISTRAC and VSSC, Skyroot team and IN-SPACe, have enabled the Skyroot VKS rocket to be launch-ready in a short period of time.’
The Vikram-S rocket flight is a technology demonstration flight to showcase the capabilities of the company. It carries with it three PCB based payloads for three customers which are equipped with sensors for the measurement of acceleration, pressure etc. This rocket will help validate the technologies that will be used in the subsequent Vikram-1 orbital vehicle of Skyroot that is planned for launch next year, subject to technical clearance by IN-SPACe.
This is the fourth authorisation issued to NGE (Non-Governmental Entities) for undertaking space activities in India, by IN-SPACe in six months. Till date, IN-SPACe has received more than 150 applications from Space NGEs for Authorisation, Facilitation, and Promotion.
Conceived in June 2020 following the Central Government’s decision to open up the space sector and enable the participation of Indian private sector in the gamut of space activities, IN-SPACe acts as a single-window, independent, nodal agency which functions as an autonomous agency in Department of Space (DOS).
IN-SPACe is responsible for the promotion, enabling, authorisation, and supervision of various space activities of the Non-Governmental Entities (NGEs) that include, among others, the building of launch vehicles & satellites and providing space-based services; sharing of space infrastructure and premises under ISRO; and establishment of new space infrastructure and facilities.
The functions of IN-SPACe are being carried out by three Directorates viz., Promotion Directorate (PD), Technical Directorate (TD) and Program Management and Authorization Directorate (PMAD).