India’s heaviest rocket is getting ready to make its entry into the global commercial launch service market with the milestone expected on October 22.
In its first dedicated commercial mission, GSLV-Mk III would launch British startup OneWeb’s 36 broadband satellites from Sriharikota spaceport, as per a contract signed by Indian Space Research Organisation‘s commercial arm, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).
The newest rocket is capable of launching a four tonne class of satellite to Geosynchronous Transfer orbit (GTO).
“The launch is slated shortly after October 21 midnight. We are looking at 00:12 hours on October 22,” a senior official of the national space agency told PTI on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
“Undertaking the launch of 36 OneWeb satellites on-board GSLV-Mk III from India is a historic moment for NSIL and ISRO,” NSIL Chairman-cum-Managing Director Radhakrishnan D was quoted as saying earlier.
GSLV-Mk III, also referred to as Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3), is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-on, a liquid propellant core stage and a cryogenic stage.
India’s Bharti Enterprises is a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb.
NSIL, a Central public sector enterprise under the Department of Space, said the contract with OneWeb is a historic milestone for NSIL and ISRO, as LVM3, is making its entry into the global commercial launch service market.
In an October 4 update on the mission, NSIL said two solid strap-on boosters and liquid core stage of LVM3 have been fully integrated at the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, in Sriharikota.
“Integration of 36 OneWeb (Low Earth Orbit broadband communication) satellites after successful completion of health checks have been assembled with the dispenser unit,” NSIL said. “In the coming days integration of (the) cryogenic upper stage of the launch vehicle and integration of payload fairing with 36 satellites will take place,” NSIL had added.