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1st suborbital launch by Indian private company

Skyroot, a commercial rocket startup in Indian, yesterday became the first Indian company to complete a rocket launch, sending its Vikram-S suborbital rocket on a short flight.

I have embedded the launch below, cued to just before lift-off. The launch itself, which lasted only about six minutes, reached a elevation of just under 56 miles, tested of the rocket’s first stage, as well as a number of other systems.

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  • Col Beausabre

    Well, congratulations to them. But to put it in perspective, this was state of the art in sounding rockets 70 years ago. and

  • Edward

    The announcer, at the 38:29 mark, said that the rocket reached 89.5 km and that 80 km “is commonly defined as the start of space.” This is similar to the U.S. 50 mile definition of space, but a majority of the world considers 100 km as the edge of space, the Karman line. Because the atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner with altitude with no altitude becoming an absolute vacuum, the definition of space is arbitrary.

    The Karman line is named after aeronautical engineer Theodore von Kármán. He postulated that at an altitude of around 57 miles, the atmosphere is so thin that an airplane would be flying so fast in order for the wings to generate lift that half the effect for staying aloft would be the orbital inertia and the other half the lift of the wings.ármán_line#Kármán's_comments

    I am not sure which airfoil, sweep and other wing shapes, or angle of attack this definition assumes, so different assumptions could give somewhat different altitudes. It seems reasonable to round out to a better number, such as 100 km, 80 km, or 50 miles.

    However, there could have been any of a number of other bases for defining space. Perhaps the altitude at with a person can no longer breathe, or the altitude at which his blood boils. The highest altitude at which an airplane has flown (although this could change over time), or the highest altitude at which a balloon can fly (unladen, of course). Perhaps the altitude that a hollow aluminum sphere with the density of water could make an entire orbit of the Earth without burning up on that orbit, or maybe ten complete orbits. It is all arbitrary.

    Reaching space may not be necessary for any particular mission. The mission may only require a certain time in freefall or a certain atmospheric density. I once worked in a solar astrophysics lab that had launched X-ray telescopes from White Sands, New Mexico, to photograph the sun. X-rays don’t penetrate the thicker part of the atmosphere, so the sounding rocket only had to get above a certain amount of the atmosphere and stay above the corresponding altitude long enough to get a good photograph. (There are now satellites with solar telescopes, so these particular sounding rocket missions have become obsolete.)

  • wayne

    good stuff.

    “It is very cold, in Space”

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