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ISRO places 36 satellites on rocket LVM3-M2’s maiden commercial mission


ISRO has scripted history as India’s space organisation placed 36 satellites on rocket LVM3-M2’s maiden commercial mission. It is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s heaviest rocket that placed 36 broadband satellites of UK-based customer OneWeb Ltd into the intended orbits.

OneWeb Ltd is the customer of NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), ISRO’s commercial arm, and a global communication network powered from space, enabling internet connectivity for governments and businesses. Bharti Enterprises is one of the major investors in OneWeb.

With this success, ISRO put behind the anomaly experienced in its August 7 Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) mission, which then made the satellites unusable.

According to ISRO, the vehicle carried the heaviest payload with 36 satellites of OneWeb, becoming the first Indian rocket with a payload of 5,796 kg.

“LVM3 M2/OneWeb India-1 mission is completed successfully. All 36 satellites have been placed into intended orbits. @NSIL_India @OneWeb,” ISRO said in a tweet.

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

All 36 satellites were injected into the orbits around 75 minutes after the rocket blasted off from the spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.

ISRO Chairman S Somanath said the festival celebrations started at Satish Dhawan Space Centre as LVM3 and its very first commercial mission have accomplished the orbit very accurately.

“Congratulations to the entire launch vehicle team for grabbing the opportunity and making it ready today for the historic mission. I also want to thank the OneWeb team for having confidence in us to host the LVM3…we are very hopeful that the next mission of LVM3 will do the same to place the remaining 36 satellites it has been contracted by NSIL”, he added.

A 43.5 metre tall rocket soared majestically in a prefixed time at 12.07 am on Sunday from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.

The vehicle is also dubbed as one of the heaviest for its ability to carry satellites up to 8,000 kg.

Former ISRO chiefs K Sivan and A S Kiran Kumar and Bharti Enterprises founder-chairman Sunil Mittal among others witnessed the launch from the Mission Control Centre.

Mission Director Thaddeus Baskar said, “the mission was a demand given to this team by the ISRO Chairman to execute the mission in a very short time of fewer than three months.”

“Once the requirement was defined the entire team ISRO rose to the occasion, worked with full vigour. During the entire schedule, there was no room for sleep and everything has to be done right at the first time itself”, he said.

About LVM3-M2

The rocket is a three-stage launch vehicle consisting of two solid propellants S200 strap-ons on its sides and a core stage comprising an L110 liquid stage and a C25 cryogenic stage.

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