The Indian space agency, ISRO, has announced that it will launch its largest rocket, LVM3, on March 26th for its second commercial mission. This is the shortest duration in which ISRO has carried out two missions of the LVM3 rocket, as it aims to meet the timelines of the customer whose satellites are being launched. This is the 6th mission to be carried out with the rocket.

OneWeb’s Satellites and Launch Services

OneWeb, a UK-based firm backed by India’s Bharti Group, aims to offer high-speed, low-latency internet connectivity from space via its constellation of satellites in Low Earth Orbit. OneWeb has already flown 17 times, utilising launch services from SpaceX, Arianespace and ISRO to place all its 1st generation constellation satellites in orbit. ISRO will be carrying the 18th set of satellites for OneWeb.

Dedicated Commercial Mission

The upcoming mission will be carried out through ISRO’s commercial arm NSIL (NewSpace India Limited). It will carry 36 OneWeb Gen-1 satellites with a total mass of 5,805 kg, into a 450 km circular Low Earth Orbit with an inclination of 87.4°.

LVM3 Rocket Design

LVM3 is a three-stage vehicle. It has two S200 solid motors as the first stage, L110 twin liquid engines as the second stage and a final C25 cryogenic upper stage. This 43.5 m tall vehicle has a lift-off mass of 643 tonnes. Its cryogenic stage is uniquely designed to orient and re-orient in orthogonal direction to meet the customer requirements of injecting satellites precisely and with a gap to avoid a collision.

Revenue for ISRO

OneWeb had inked an agreement with NSIL and ISRO for placing a total of 72 satellites in orbit (in batches of 36). This deal has brought in more than Rs.1000 crore in revenue for ISRO. It also provides an opportunity for the Indian space agency to showcase its largest rocket’s capability and reliability. The vehicle has performed successful launches in all its missions to date.



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