New Delhi — Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) LVM3 launch vehicle in its sixth consecutive successful flight on Sunday placed 36 satellites belonging to UK-based OneWeb Group Company into their intended circular orbits with an inclination of 87.4 degrees.
With this launch, NSIL — the commercial arm of India’s Department of Space — has successfully executed its contract to launch 72 satellites of OneWeb to Low Earth Orbit.
“Congratulations @NSIL_India @INSPACeIND @ISRO on yet another successful launch of LVM3 with 36 @OneWeb satellites. It reinforces India’s leading role as a global commercial launch service provider in the true spirit of Aatmanirbharta,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The vehicle took off with a total payload of 5,805 kg at nine o’clock in the morning from the second launch pad at SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota.
“It gained the required altitude of 450 km in about nine minutes of flight, achieved satellite injection conditions in the eighteenth minute, and began injecting the satellites in the twentieth minute. The C25 stage performed a sophisticated maneuver to repeatedly orient itself in orthogonal directions and inject satellites into precise orbits with defined time-gaps to avoid collision of the satellites. 36 satellites were separated in nine phases, in a batch of four. OneWeb confirmed the acquisition of signals from all 36 satellites,” a statement from ISRO read.
This mission marked OneWeb’s second satellite deployment from India, highlighting the strong partnership with NSIL and ISRO. It was OneWeb’s 18th launch bringing the total of OneWeb’s constellation to 618 satellites.
ISRO Chairman Somanath S expressed happiness over the consecutive successful flight of LVM3, the opportunity provided by NSIL and the confidence the OneWeb team has in ISRO. He thanked the Indian government for the support and approvals for the missions for the commercial launches that have enhanced the confidence in LVM3. He was delighted to mention that this mission had the upgraded S200 motors with enhanced margins suitable for the upcoming Gaganyaan mission and the motors performed very well.
“We applaud ISRO and NSIL on the successful launch of the LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 mission. The completion of the last leg of the first-generation LEO constellation of 600+ satellites by Bharti-backed OneWeb has set a significant benchmark for the entire Indian space industry in downstream application of satellite communication in India. This launch is a significant milestone for India to move towards benefiting from the remarkable capabilities of LEO connectivity and the spread of space-based internet. This will surely aid in addressing the issue of low fixed broadband penetration and bridge the digital divide in the country’s most remote areas. We are excited about the potential it holds and the positive impact it will have on our nation’s aspirations for digital transformation,” said Indian Space Association Director General Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt.