The LVM3 of the Indian Space Research Organization ISRO)will launch 36 broadband satellites for British start-up OneWeb on October 23 at 12 midnight from Sriharikota spaceport Andhra Pradesh. This will be the first time that the country’s heavy rocket launcher is used for commercial launch.
ISRO further informed that “registration for witnessing the launch from the launch view gallery at Sriharikota is open at https://lvg.shar.gov.in.”
The LVM3 has successfully completed the integration at the cryogenic stage and the integration of payload fairing with 36 satellites. The vehicles final checks are in progress, the space agency said.
Here are a few facts about the ambitious commercial mission
The LVM3 or Heavy Launch Vehicle of ISRO was earlier called GSLV Mk III or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III.
This will be the first commercial flight of the GSLV Mk III and the second flight overall. Earlier it carried India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft on July 22, 2019, into its planned orbit. The launch took place from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota..
The GSLV-Mk3 is designed to launch a liquid core stage, two solid motor strap-ons, and a high-lifter cryogenic upper stage. Its overall length is 43.5 meters, and it has a gross lift-off weight of around 660 tonnes, the ISRO website mentions.
According to the agency, the GSLV-Mk-3 was developed to provide a reliable and cost-effective launch capability to the 4,000-kg class satellites.
It is capable of lifting 4t class satellites to GTO and about 10t to LEO. It is a 3-stage vehicle with a 5m heatshield, that has helped to improve the payload accommodation volume, mentions NewSpace India’s (a Govt. of India space startup under the Department of Space) official website.
In October, NewSpace India signed two launch contracts with a UK-based company for the upcoming mission. Under this contract, OneWeb is launching 36 broadband satellites for OneWeb.
The launch of the satellites, which will be carried out through NSIL’s partnership with OneWeb, marks the first time that the LVM3 will be used for a commercial mission. The space agency noted that this agreement is a significant step for both the organization and the launch industry.
The company noted that it was planning on launching four more satellites in the coming months to complete its constellation with varied partnerships.
OneWeb is a joint venture between India’s Bharti Global and the UK government.
India currently has three operational launch vehicles – the PSLV, GSLV, and GSLV Mk III.
This will be the first time a rocket other than India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) – is being used to carry out a commercial launch. PSLV has conducted at least eight commercial-only launches and GSLV on the other hand has 14 launches so far, IE reported.
In 2020, the government allowed private companies to participate in the space sector. It was primarily focused on allowing them to provide a variety of space-related services while ISRO concentrates on scientific missions. As of now, over a hundred start-ups have been established in the country. These companies offer a wide range of services, including satellite development, launch services, and downstream applications.
Edited by : Ragul Senthil