ISRO’s heaviest rocket LVM3 will launch British start-up OneWeb’s 36 broadband satellites from the spaceport in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota on October 23, marking the launcher’s entry into the global commercial launch service market. LVM3 was earlier called GSLV Mk III.
The launch of ‘LVM3 – M2/OneWeb India-1 Mission’ is scheduled at 12:07am IST on October 23 (midnight of October 22), the Bengaluru-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
“Cryo stage, equipment bay (EB) assembly completed. Satellites are encapsulated and assembled in the vehicle. Final vehicle checks are in progress,” it said.
Earlier this month, ISRO said that NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a central public sector enterprise (CPSE) under the Department of Space and the commercial arm of the space agency, had signed two launch service contracts with the UK-based Network Access Associates Limited (OneWeb) for launching OneWeb LEO (low earth orbit) broadband communication satellites on-board ISRO’s LVM3.
“It is the first LVM3-dedicated commercial launch on demand through NSIL,” ISRO had said.
“This contract with M/s OneWeb is a historic milestone for NSIL and ISRO, as LVM3, is making its entry into the global commercial launch service market,” it had said.
The newest rocket is capable of launching a four-tonne class of satellites into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
LVM3 is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons, a liquid propellant core stage and a cryogenic stage.
India’s Bharti Enterprises is a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb.