New Space India Limited (NSIL), a commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) and a Central Public Sector Enterprise(CPSE) under the Department of Space is all set to launch 36 OneWeb satellites. Under the OneWeb India-1 mission, these satellites will be launched onboard ISRO’s heaviest launcher LVM3 (Launch Vehicle Mark 3 or GSLV Mk III) in the second half of October 2022.
NSIL has signed two launch service contracts with United Kingdom-based M/s network access Associated Limited (M/s OneWeb). Bharti Airtel is a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb, a global communications network, powered from space, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities.
According to a statement by the company, with its 14th overall launch, OneWeb will have over 70 percent of its planned ‘Gen 1 LEO constellation’ in orbit. It will also move towards the completion of its constellation of satellites to deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity services around the world.
The company in March this year had suspended all its launches from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
Launch Progressions Made So Far
The 36 Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Broadband Communication satellites of OneWeb will be launched onboard ISRO’s launcher LVM3. The two-solid strap-on boosters and a liquid core stage of LVM3 have been fully integrated at the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
The integration of 36 OneWeb satellites has been successfully assembled with the dispenser unit after the completion of health checks.
In the coming days, the cryogenic upper stage of the launch vehicle and the payload fairing will also be integrated with these communication satellites.
The launch mission will be a historic move considering that it will be the first commercial launch of ISRO’s heaviest rocket GSLV MkIII, which for the first time will be carrying a payload of about six tonnes. Also, it will be the first time that the launcher GSLV MkIII or its variants have been used to launch satellites in LEO.
According to the Indian Space Agency, the launch under The OneWeb India-1 Mission will mark the entry of LVM3 into the global commercial launch service market.