An Indian aerospace startup has launched the country’s first privately built rocket, marking a watershed moment in the country’s efforts to foster a private space industry.
The rocket, called Vikram-S, was launched to applause from the government-run Satish Dhawan Space Center near Chennai on Friday morning.
It reached a maximum altitude of 89.5 km (55.6 miles). This is higher than NASA’s designated Earth-space boundary of 50 miles, but falls short of the Kármán line (about 62 miles above Earth), which is widely regarded as the space boundary.
The rocket stayed in the air for about five minutes, reaching Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.
Skyroot, based in Hyderabad and founded by former Indian Space Research Organization engineers, is the company behind the rocket. The rocket is named after Vikram Sarabhai, India’s space program’s father.
The launch went exactly as planned, according to Pawan Kumar Goenka, chairman of IN-SPACe, an agency within India’s space department.
“As far as I can tell, all systems worked as expected, and Skyroot Aerospace demonstrated the capability of various subsystems that will go into the orbital launch vehicle,” he said after the rocket landed in the Bay of Bengal.
India’s divisive Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the successful launch on Twitter.
“Today was a historic day for India, as the rocket Vikram-S, developed by Skyroot Aerospace, took off from Sriharikota. It is a significant milestone in India’s private space industry’s journey “He wrote something. “This achievement demonstrates the enormous talent of our youth, who took full advantage of the landmark space sector reforms of June 2020.”
Skyroot was the first company to sign an agreement to launch rockets with the country’s space programme.
Last summer, billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson both launched into space aboard vessels built by their respective space-tech companies.