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Vikram-S Rocket launch: India’s first privately developed rocket under Mission Prarambh

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology, Awareness in the fields of Space

 

Source: TH

 Directive: The article will help to understand Mission Prarambh, Vikram-S, Artemis 1 and their significance (we had previously covered Mission Prarambh, but this is a much more detailed analysis)

 Context: In a historic moment, Vikram-S, India’s first privately developed rocket, lifted off recently from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) launchpad in Sriharikota.

 Background:

  • The mission, codenamed Prarambh (the beginning), is the Indian private sector’s first entry into the lucrative space launch market.
  • It is a mission under which Vikram-S – India’s first privately developed launch vehicle by Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace will carry 3 customer satellites (2 Indian and 1 foreign) in a sub-orbital flight.

 

About Vikram-S rocket:

  • It is a single-stage solid-fuel suborbital launch vehicle named after Vikram Sarabhai, the pioneer of India’s space program.
    • The spacecraft travels slower than the orbital velocity in a sub-orbital flight, which means it is fast enough to reach outer space but not fast enough to maintain an orbit around the Earth.
  • The launch vehicle’s engine, Kalam-80, is named after former President A P J Abdul Kalam.
  • The Vikram-S is a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) that will carry payloads weighing between 290 and 560 kg (PSLV, India’s workhorse, can carry up to 1,750 kg) into sun-synchronous polar orbits.

Significance:

  • Technology-demonstration mission: The Vikram-S, Kalam-80 and 3D printed parts (thrusters) will be used to test and certify technology in the Vikram series space launch vehicles.
    • The company is developing three Vikram rockets that will use various solid and cryogenic fuels and have a carbon composite core structure.
  • More private sector missions on the way:
    • Agnikul Cosmos, for example, whose semi-cryogenic Agnilet engine was recently tested at ISRO’s vertical testing facility at Thumba (TERLS), Thiruvananthapuram.
    • ISRO’s SSLV is also expected to be manufactured and operated by private players in the near future.
  • Promoting startups: Around 100 start-ups have registered with the ISRO and are collaborating with it in various areas of the space program.

 

Related news: Artemis-1 lunar mission

Source: IE

Context: NASA recently launched the Artemis 1 mission, heading to the Moon on board Orion with the intention of carrying out tests ahead of future manned missions to the Moon and beyond.

 Background: The Apollo program/Project Apollo, was NASA’s third human spaceflight program (after Project Mercury and Project Gemini), responsible for preparing and landing the first humans on the Moon between 1968 and 1972.

 

About the Artemis-1 mission:

●        Artemis 1, formerly known as Exploration Mission-1, is the first planned uncrewed test flight in NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the Moon.

●        It will also be the maiden flight of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will be the most powerful rocket engine ever flown into space, even more, powerful than Apollo’s Saturn V rocket, which carried people to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Significance: Artemis-1 will test how well SLS and Orion can complete a mission to the Moon and back. Artemis-2 (2024) will be a crewed flight but not land on the moon; Artemis-3 (2026) will land on the south pole of the moon.

Other missions to Moon: Luna 2 (USSR), Apollo 11 (USA), Chandrayaan 1 and 2 (India)

 

Insta Links:

Space Technology

 

Mains Links:

Q. In order to reap the maximum benefits, it becomes pertinent to increase private participation and nudge India towards a scientific pursuit of space exploration driven by economic aims. Discuss. (250 words)