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Why has ISRO named GSLV Mk-III as LVM-3 for OneWeb launch?

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is in the final phase of preparation to launch 36 satellites as part of a broadband constellation by OneWeb into space. The 36 satellites will be launched into space on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-III. However, there is a small change.

Isro has redesignated the launch vehicle as LVM-3 from GSLV Mk-III. While the practice of changing the name of the launcher is not uncommon, it is new for India and LVM-3 stands for Launch Vehicle Mark 3.

The LVM-3 has been moved to the pad and will launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on October 23 at 12:07 am with the customer payloads to deploy them in Low Earth Orbit. It is the first dedicated commercial launch for LVM3, which is being conducted on demand through NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).

The sole reason behind changing the name of the vehicle from GSLV to LVM is that the rocket will not deploy the satellites in the geosynchronous orbit. The OneWeb satellites operate in Low Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 1,200 kilometers.

The geosynchronous orbit, on the other hand, is located 35,786 kilometers above Earth's equator. It is a prograde, low inclination orbit about Earth having a period of 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds. A spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit appears to remain above Earth at a constant longitude, although it may seem to wander north and south.

The GSLV-Mk-III has been configured to deploy the satellites in the LEO with two solid strap-on boosters and a liquid core stage that have been integrated at the second launch pad.

The LVM-3 is 43.5 meters in height with a 4-meter diameter and is capable of lifting off with 640 tonnes of payload.The cryogenic stage of the vehicle allows it to place heavy payloads into Low Earth Orbits of 600 km altitude, while it can also place four-tonne class satellites of the GSAT series into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits. The L110 liquid stage is powered by two Vikas engines designed and developed at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.

This is not the first time that ISRO has redesignated the vehicle to LVM-3. In 2014, the GSLV-Mk-III was also named LVM-3 as it launched with the Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE) into space.

Edited by Ragul Senthil

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