ISRO’s LVM-3 to launch second fleet of 36 satellites

Context: In its second commercial launch, India’s heaviest launch vehicle LVM-3 will launch a fleet of 36 OneWeb satellites in the Low Earth Orbit, completing the first generation of the huge broadband constellation. 

OneWeb satellites:

  • OneWeb is a United Kingdom-based company, backed by the UK government and India’s Bharti, which plans to create a 588-satellite strong constellation to provide high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.
  • These satellites will be placed in 12 rings of 49 satellites each, with every satellite completing a full trip around the Earth in 109 minutes. The final launch by ISRO will enable the company to initiate global coverage.
    • This is the second OneWeb fleet that India is launching, with the first being carried out by the same vehicle in October 2022. 

Key Facts: 

  • In June 2020, the Indian government opened up the space sector to allow the participation of private firms in the entire gamut of space activities. As part of these reforms, the government set up:
    • New Space India Limited (NSIL) – the country’s first public sector undertaking in the space sector.
    • Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) – the promoter and regulator of space activities in India by non-government and private entities.
  • India’s journey into the commercial heavy lift-off space was initiated after the launch of 36 OneWeb satellites in the Low Earth Orbit in October 2022. 
  • Despite being one of the major space-faring nations, India accounts for only about 2% of the commercial market
  • With the space sector opened up to private players in 2020, this is likely to increase, as more and more companies are developing their own small satellite launch capabilities. 
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Launch Vehicle Mark-3:

  • The Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3) or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk3) is a three-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
    • It has two solid strap-on motors, one liquid core stage and a high-thrust cryogenic upper stage.
  • Currently, the LVM3 rocket has the capacity to carry 4000 kg spacecraft launching capability to GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit) and 10000 tons to the Low Earth Orbit.
    • It is primarily designed to launch communication satellites.
    • It is also due to launch crewed missions under the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme (Gaganyaan).

Prelims Practice Question:

  1. With reference to the Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM-3), consider the following statements: 
  2. It is the heaviest rocket currently in use by the Indian Space Research Organisation.
  3. LVM-3 is a four-stage launch vehicle primarily designed to launch communication satellites. 
  4. LVM-3 can lift lighter satellites to Geostationary Transfer Orbit and heavier satellites to Low Earth Orbit. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c)

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