Isro’s latest rocket, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), is all set for launch with the space agency aiming for an early February launch carrying three payloads. While the main payload will be an Earth observation satellite – the EOS-7 – the mission is also expected to launch Janus-1 from US firm Antaris and a third payload from a domestic player.
According to Isro, SSLV is capable of launching around a 500kg satellite in a 500km planar orbit and its key features – low cost, low turn-around time, flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, launch on-demand feasibility, minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc. – will make it a go-to launch vehicle for commercial launches in the future. However, with its maiden developmental mission having failed to put the satellite in a desired orbit on August 7, 2022, the second developmental flight scheduled now will be critical for the launch vehicle.
The space agency has already indicated that SSLV would eventually be handed over to the industry for production. And, unlike with PSLV, Isro is even likely to transfer technology with SSLV.
In another significant development, satellites from Bharti-backed OneWeb – the second batch the UK firm will be launching on an Indian launch vehicle (GSLV-Mk3 or LVM3) – are scheduled to arrive at the Isro spaceport in Sriharikota on Friday.
This is OneWeb’s second commercial mission using an Indian rocket after the first mission was carried out flawlessly by Isro, which was implementing a contract Space PSU NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) had with OneWeb. The launch is tentatively scheduled for March, but there’s no official confirmation about the date.
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