- Significance of Prarambh
- Future Plan of SkyRoot
- Steps to promote the Private sector in Space
- Way Forward to promote Private Sector
- Skyroot Aerospace, an Indian private sector space enterprise, created history by launching India’s first privately developed rocket Vikram-S.
- Vikram-S is a single stage rocket. It is India’s first privately developed cryogenic hypergolic-liquid and solid fuel-based rocket engine. It was developed using advanced composite and 3-D printing
- It carried three customer payloads in a sub-orbital flight. It was launched from the sounding rocket complex of the ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh
- The rocket reached a peak-altitude of 89.5 kms and has met all flight parameters.
Significance of Prarambh:
- This is a new beginning of engagement between ISRO and the private sector in India.
- Success of Skyroot will motivate and open doors for many in private sector. Future scope of business is huge as around 20,000 small satellites are estimated to be launched in the coming decade.
- Private sector participation in space worldwide has brought enormous benefits, and it can’t be different in the case of India.
- Increasing India’s share in Space Economy (Currently it is 2%, PM Modi has been demanding that it rapidly increases to 10% by 2030)
- Private sector companies playing bigger role would be significant in achieving this target.
- Today private companies lead the satellite business (e.g. SpaceX’s StarLink is now a major player with more than 2,300 satellites). Therefore, more private players also need to come in the rocket making sector.
Future Plans of SkyRoot:
- Vikram-1 is being developed to carry 480 kg payload to Low inclination Orbit.
- Vikram-2 which will follow Vikram-1, will carry 595 kg to low inclination orbit.
- Vikram-3 will carry 815 kg to Low inclination orbit.
- Skyrocket also says that the rockets will be able to undertake multi-orbit insertion ans inter-planetary missions as well as offer “customized, dedicated and ride share options covering a wide spectrum of small satellite customers’ needs”.
Recent Steps to promote the Private sector in Space
- In June 2020, government approved the participation of private players in all sectors of space activity – earlier they could only be vendors/suppliers.
- NSIL – Established in March 2019 to commercially utilize R&D work of ISRO Centres and other constituent unit of DOS.
- In-Space (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre), set up in 2020, is an independent nodal agency under Department of Space (DoS) to boost commercialization of Indian Space Activities and encourage private players.
- Skyroot Aerospace (based in Hyderabad) has already launched VIKRAM-S
- Agnikul Cosmos, a Chennai-based start-up, is planning the commercial launch of its rocket Agnibaan in the first quarter of 2023.
Way Forward to promote Private Sector:
- Identify and encourage more private players by enabling policy environment.
- Existing big players in space like Godrej & Boyce, Larsen & Toubro, and Walchandnagar Industries are among many private sector companies that have contributed to Indian Space Program. Government should work towards activating their full mobilization into the India Space Effort. It is these large companies that will bring much needed scale to make India a Economic Powerhouse.
- International Cooperation and Investment would be crucial for growth of private sector. Even NASA is working on Artemis mission in collaboration with a number of other space agencies.
Prarambh Mission is just the beginning. More private players are needed in the space sector to meet the growing and diverse demand of India’s Space Program.