India’s first private satellite vehicle set for launch: All you need to know about Vikram S, and why it is a big deal

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s first private satellite vehicle set for launch: All you need to know about Vikram S, and why it is a big deal” published in Indian Express on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

India’s first-ever privately developed rocket named “Vikram S” is ready for launch. It will be launched by Hyderabad-based space firm Skyroot Aerospace as part of its Mission “Prarambh”.

What is Vikram S?

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Features of Vikram S

Payload Capacity: Skyroot is designing three Vikram rockets that will use various solid and cryogenic fuels to carry between 290 kg and 560 kg payloads to sun-synchronous polar orbits.

— In comparison, India’s workhorse PSLV can carry up to 1,750 kg to such an orbit while the newly-developed small satellite launch vehicle – meant for carrying smaller commercial satellites – can carry up to 300 kg to sun-synchronous orbit.

Unique Capabilities: Vikram vehicles offer unique capabilities like multi-orbit insertion, interplanetary missions while providing customized, dedicated and ride-share options covering a wide spectrum of small satellite customer needs.

Low Cost: Vikram rocket can be assembled and launched within 24 hours from any launch site and has the “lowest cost in the payload segment”.

Why does India need private players in the space market?

Firstly, ISRO is centrally funded and its annual budget is between Rs 14-15,000 crore and most of this is used in building rockets and satellites. This is a drop in the ocean. Hence, to increase the scale of the space sector, it is imperative for private players to enter the market. 

Secondly, ISRO is capable of launching satellites into space but the demand is quickly outrunning its capacity especially as it also has other, larger goals it needs to focus on. Therefore, the sector is being opened up to private players with ISRO helping them with facilities and knowledge. 

Thirdly, ISRO can also earn some money by making its facilities and data available to private players.

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