ISRO writes history with successful LVM3-M2 trade mission

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ISRO’s LVM3-M2 on its maiden commercial mission on Sunday successfully placed 36 broadband communication satellites.

The Indian Space Research Organization’s heaviest rocket, LVM3-M2, on its maiden commercial mission on Sunday successfully placed 36 broadband communication satellites of a UK-based customer into planned orbits, it said. the space agency, describing the mission as “historic”.

OneWeb Ltd is the UK-based client of NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO and a global communications network powered from space, enabling Internet connectivity for governments and businesses. Bharti Enterprises is one of the main investors in OneWeb.

London-based satellite communications company Network Access Associated Limited (OneWeb) said its partnership with ISRO and the space agency’s commercial arm NSIL demonstrated its commitment to providing connectivity across India by 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised ISRO and other stakeholders for the success.

“Congratulations @NSIL_India @INSPACeIND @ISRO on the successful launch of our heaviest launch vehicle LVM3 with 36 OneWeb satellites targeting global connectivity. LVM3 exemplifies Atmanirbharta and enhances India’s competitive advantage in the global market for commercial launch services.” “, said.

With Sunday’s success, ISRO overcame the anomaly experienced on its August 7 Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) mission, which had rendered the satellites unusable due to orbital problems.

Earlier on Sunday, a beaming ISRO president, S Somanath, announced that Deepavali had started early for the space agency’s scientists.

“LVM3 M2/OneWeb India-1 mission was successfully completed. All 36 satellites were placed in planned orbits. @NSIL_India @OneWeb,” ISRO said in a tweet, minutes after Somanath announced that 16 satellites had been placed in the desired orbits. while the rest would take a little more time.

The 36 satellites were injected into orbit around 75 minutes after the rocket blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport at 00:07.

Addressing the meeting at the Mission Control Center, Somanath said the festival celebrations began at the Satish Dhawan Space Center as LVM3 and its first commercial mission have achieved orbit very precisely.

“Now that the rocket has entered orbit, 16 satellites out of 36 satellites have already been injected. I wanted to tell you that this is a slow process of separation of the satellites. The data on the separation of the remaining 20 satellites will come soon. shortly thereafter and mission operations continue to observe this separation,” he said earlier. ISRO later confirmed that the desired objective of the mission had been met.

Former ISRO chiefs K Sivan and AS Kiran Kumar and Bharti Enterprises founder and chairman Sunil Mittal, among others, witnessed the launch from Mission Control Center.

Calling the mission “historic,” Somanath, also secretary of the Space Department, credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support for the mission’s success.

“Congratulations to the entire launch vehicle team for seizing the opportunity and preparing it for the historic mission today. I also want to thank the OneWeb team for trusting us to host LVM3…we are very hopeful that the next LVM3 mission it will do the same to place the remaining 36 satellites that it has under contract to NSIL,” he said.

NSIL President and CEO D. Radhakrishnan, complimenting the ISRO team for a ‘commendable’ LVM3 mission, said: “The three main stakeholders in this particular mission, NSIL, ISRO and OneWeb India, have shown the whole world how to contract and execute the mission in less than 3-4 months”.

According to OneWeb, it will provide secure solutions not only to businesses, but also to towns, villages, municipalities, and schools, including the most difficult-to-reach areas across the country.

“OneWeb’s commitment to improve connectivity in India is backed by Bharti Global, its largest investor,” the company said in a statement.

“This ISRO and NSIL launch is one of the largest commercial orders from India’s leading space organization and the first to use the LVM3 rocket,” OneWeb noted.

The OneWeb satellites were successfully separated from the rocket and distributed in nine phases over a period of one hour and 15 minutes, and signal acquisition was confirmed on all 36 satellites.

This is the fourteenth launch of OneWeb, which brings the constellation to 462 satellites. This launch represents more than 70 percent of its planned fleet of 648 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites that it said will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity around the globe.

With just four more launches, the company said it remains on track to activate global coverage in 2023, while its connectivity solutions are already available in select regions of the world.

Mittal said that today’s launch is an important milestone for OneWeb. “This new phase of our launch program from India brings us one step closer to not only improving our global coverage, but also bringing connectivity in India and South Asia, particularly to the communities that need it most,” he said.

“Today, my dream of having an Indian element in the OneWeb constellation has come true. This launch with ISRO and NSIL opens up the space sector in India with the potential for billions of dollars to flow into the country,” he added. Earlier, at the end of a 24-hour countdown, the 43.5-meter-high rocket rose majestically on time Sunday from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota.

The vehicle is also considered one of the heaviest due to its ability to carry satellites weighing up to 8,000 kg.

Sunday’s mission marks several key milestones, as the LVM3-M2 mission is the first dedicated commercial launch vehicle mission. It carried the heaviest payloads with 36 OneWeb satellites, becoming the first Indian rocket with a payload of 5,796 kg.

Mission director Thaddeus Baskar said: “The mission was a demand that the ISRO president gave to this team to execute the mission in a very short time of less than three months.”

“Once the requirement was defined, the entire ISRO team rose to the occasion, worked with all their vigor. During the whole programme, there was no room to sleep and everything has to be done right the first time,” he said. .

The launch is also the first for LVM3-M2 to place the satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO, up to 1,200 km above Earth) as opposed to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

ISRO scientists renamed the launch vehicle LVM3-M2 from GSLV-Mk III, as the newer rocket is capable of launching 4,000 kilograms of class of satellites in GTO and 8,000 kg of payloads in LEO.

The LVM3-M2 mission would give the space agency a boost with the new launch vehicle configured to place satellites in low-Earth orbit, along with ISRO’s trusty Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The rocket is a three-stage launch vehicle consisting of two solid propellant S200 straps on its sides and a core stage comprising an L110 liquid stage and a C25 cryogenic stage.

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