ISRO successfully launches heavy payload rocket mission LVM – 3 – M3 

Subheadline – In this mission LVM3 would place 36 One Web Gen – 1 satellite totaling about 5,805 kg into a 450 km circular orbit

Indian Space Research Organization’s heaviest payload rocket, LVM3 carrying a total of 36 One Web satellites onboard took off on March 26 at the launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SDSC- SHAR, Sriharikota the 43.5-meter tall vehicle weighs 643 tonnes. 

This is the second mission for Network Access Associates Limited, United Kingdom (One Web Group Company) under a commercial agreement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) to launch 72 satellites launched in LVM3 – M2/ One Web India – 1 mission on October 23, 2022. 

One Web is a global communication network powered from space, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. India’s Bharti Enterprises serves as a major investor and shareholder in One Web. 

This is One Web’s 18th launch, its third this year, bringing the total of One Web’s constellation 618 satellites this launch is a major milestone for the company, with the number of satellites now in – orbit enabling global service, the first LEO operator to reach the milestone One Web will soon be ready to roll out its global coverage. 

ISRO said “LVM3 – M3/One Web India – 2 mission accomplished all 36 One Web Gen – 1 Satellite injected into the intended orbits.”  “In its sixth consecutive successful flight, LVM3 carried 5,805 kgs of payload to Low Earth Orbit”, the space agency said on its official social media account. 

ISRO chairman S Somnath said the launch went off “extremely well” with the satellites going up to the right and intended orbits with “very minimal disturbances.” “Once again, LVM3 has proved that it is a very reliable and rugged vehicle which can carry large and heavy payloads and launch them right into the orbits,”  Somnath added. 

The payload is a bent-pipe system operating in Ku and Ka bands The forward link receives Ka-band signals from the gateway via the satellite Ka antenna. The return link receives Ku-band signals from the User Terminals (UTs) via the satellite Ku antenna. 

PM Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated NewSpace India Limited, IN-SPACe, and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the successful launch of the heaviest rocket LVM3 with 36 OneWeb satellites into orbit. Isro’s heaviest rocket LVM3 entered the global space service market with the latest launch of 36 broadband satellites. The launch is one of the biggest commercial orders by India’s premier space organization, and the first using the LVM3 rocket. This is the 14th launch of OneWeb, and the second this year. 

“Congratulations @NSIL_India, @INSPACeIND, @ISRO on the successful launch of our heaviest launch vehicle LVM3 with 36 OneWeb satellites meant for global connectivity. LVM3 exemplifies Atma Nirbharta & enhances India’s competitive edge in the global commercial launch service market,” PM Modi tweeted.

The rocket can launch 10,000 tonnes of payload into low earth orbit. The LVM3-M2, a three-stage rocket, is emerging as the workhorse for larger missions: Its four previous missions have been successful. Its first two stages carry liquid fuel, and the third is the cryogenic engine. The two strap-on motors are powered by solid fuel.

The mission marks India’s entry, via NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), in the global market to launch heavier satellites. Isro has launched 345 foreign satellites till date, and Sunday’s launch took the total to 381. Isro will launch another 36 OneWeb satellites in January next.

The reusable rocket, also called Next-Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) is being worked upon. ISRO scientists are creating the design of the rocket and would like the industry to collaborate with it in the development, said ISRO Chairman S Somanath. 

Another ISRO official said the new rocket would be helpful as India plans to have its own space station by 2035 and was also eyeing deep space missions, human space flights, cargo missions and putting multiple communication satellites into orbit at the same time.

The NGLV is envisioned as a simple, robust machine designed for bulk manufacturing that will make space transportation more cost-effective.

According to a presentation made by Somanath at a conference earlier this month, the NGLV could offer launch costs of USD 1900 per kg of payload in the reusable form and USD 3,000 per kg in the expendable format.

The NGLV could be a three-stage rocket powered by green fuel combinations such as methane and liquid oxygen or kerosene and liquid oxygen. ISRO plans to have the design of the NGLV ready within a year and offer it to the industry for production, with the first launch tentatively scheduled for 2030.

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