An Indian aeronautics company on Friday launched three satellites into orbit, marking the entry of the private sector into the country’s space activities.

The company, Skyroot Aerospace, launched the satellites on its Vikram-S rocket, named after Vikram Sarabhai, the former chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation. The rocket was launched around 11.30 am from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

Skyroot Aerospace said that the rocket, launched under Mission Prarambh, met all flight parameters and achieved a peak altitude of 89.5 kilometres.

“We made history today by launching India’s first private rocket,” the company’s co-founder Pawan Kumar Chandanasaid. “It is a symbol of new India, and just the Prarambh [beginning] of a great future.

The three satellites have been developed by Chennai-based start-up SpaceKidz, Andhra Pradesh-headquartered N-SpaceTech and Armenian BazoomQ Space Research Lab, according to PTI. The rocket which carried the satellites subsequently dropped into the sea as planned in the mission.

Through the mission, the company is testing 80% of onboard technologies for future launches from the Vikram series. It will also test the effectiveness of inflight avionics, including telemetry, tracking, GPS, camera, data acquisition and power systems.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation and the country’s space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (INSPACe for the launch.

“A historic moment for India as the rocket Vikram-S, developed by Skyroot Aerospace, took off from Sriharikota today!” he said. “It is an important milestone in the journey of India’s private space industry.”

INSPACe chairperson Pawan Goenka congratulated Skyroot and said that the development was a “giant leap for private space sector in India”.

In 2020, the Union government opened up the space sector for private players. The agency INSPACe was set up to regulate the involvement of private companies in the space sector and ensure a level playing field to them.