ISRO’s heaviest rocket LVM3 carrying 36 satellites belonging to UK-based OneWeb Group lifted off from Sriharikota spaceport on Sunday.
The agreement signed with Network Access Associates Ltd, the United Kingdom (OneWeb Group Company) for the launch of 72 satellites into Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) includes the second dedicated mission for NewSpace India Ltd, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (LEO).
On October 23, 2022, ISRO launched the company’s first batch of 36 satellites. The 43.5-metre tall rocket, located approximately 135 km from Chennai, was ready to launch at 9 am after a 24.5-hour countdown.
A significant investor in the OneWeb group, which is working to put together a constellation of low-earth orbiting satellites, is Bharti Enterprises. It is a worldwide communication network that is powered by space and provides connectivity for both corporations and governments.
For the OneWeb Group, it was the 18th launch, while for the ISRO, it would be the second mission in 2023 following the successful launch of the SSLV/D2-EOS07 mission carried out in February. OneWeb would have 616 satellites in its fleet after today’s mission, which would be more than enough to roll out worldwide services later this year.
OneWeb said the mission, which marks the company’s second satellite deployment from India, highlights the cooperation between the British and Indian space sectors.
According to the company, OneWeb would provide safe solutions not only to businesses but also to towns, villages, municipalities, and schools, including those in the most remote parts of India.
Around 20 minutes after takeoff, the first set of satellite separations, which will involve four of the 36 satellites, is planned. It won’t be long before the remaining satellites are launched into their 450 km circular orbits.
After being put into low-earth orbits, the satellites would be distributed among 12 planes at a distance from the surface of the Earth of around 1,200 km. According to ISRO, each plane would be 4 km apart from the others at a certain altitude to prevent collisions.
LVM3, formerly known as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII (GSLVMkIII) with a cryogenic upper stage, has flown six times. It completed five missions in a row, including Chandrayaan-2.
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