India's first privately developed rocket – Vikram-S -- is set for a launch in a sub-orbital mission with three payloads between November 12 and 16, Hyderabad-based space startup Skyroot Aerospace announced on Tuesday.
The maiden mission of Skyroot Aerospace, named 'Prarambh' (the beginning), will carry two Indian and one foreign customer payloads and is set for launch from Indian Space Research Organisation's launchpad at Sriharikota.
"A launch window between November 12 and 16 has been notified by authorities, the final date being confirmed based on weather conditions," Skyroot Aerospace CEO and co-founder Pawan Kumar Chandana said.
“We have two Indian and one foreign payloads,” Chandana said, refusing to divulge more details.
Spacekidz, a Chennai-based aerospace startup, will fly 'Fun-Sat', a 2.5 kg payload developed by students from India, the US, Singapore and Indonesia on the sub-orbital flight on board Vikram-S.
“We want the children to learn about conducting experiments in space. It is a simple payload developed by grandparents with their grandchildren,” Srimathy Kesan, CEO of Spacekidz, said.
On Monday, ISRO Chairman S Somanath unveiled the mission patch for the Skyroot Aerospace launch.
With this mission, Skyroot is set to become the first private space company in India to launch a rocket into space, heralding a new era for the space sector which was opened up in 2020 to facilitate private sector participation.
"The Vikram-S rocket is a single-stage sub-orbital launch vehicle which would carry three customer payloads and help test and validate the majority of the technologies in the Vikram series of space launch vehicles," Naga Bharath Daka, Chief Operating Officer of Skyroot Aerospace, said in a statement.
Chandana said Skyroot could build and get the Vikram-S rocket mission-ready in such a short time only because of the invaluable support from ISRO and IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre).
Skyroot's launch vehicles are named 'Vikram' as a tribute to the founder of the Indian space programme and renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai.
Based in Hyderabad, Skyroot was the first startup to sign a memorandum of understanding with ISRO for launching its rockets. It aims to disrupt entry barriers to cost-efficient satellite launch services and space-flight by advancing its mission to make spaceflights affordable, reliable and regular for all, the statement said.