ISRO successfully launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Sriharikota

The rocket, LVM3, lifted off at 9 am from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota
ISRO successfully launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Sriharikota

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday successfully launched 36 OneWeb satellites aimed at providing broadband connectivity across the globe into the intended orbits, in the second commercial mission of LVM3, the agency’s heaviest payload rocket. 

The rocket, LVM3, lifted off at 9 am from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, 110 km from here. All the 36 satellites were deployed in a sequential manner in nine steps of four numbers each over a period of two hours. 

While 16 satellites were launched into the intended orbits in the first hour of the launch, the ISRO received data from the remaining 16 satellites in the next hour. Exactly 123 minutes after the launch, the ISRO announced that the mission was accomplished with all 36 OneWeb Gen-1 satellites being injected into the intended orbits.

In its 6th consecutive successful flight, including Chandrayaan-2, the LVM3 carried 5,805 kg of payload to Low Earth Orbit. This is the second dedicated commercial satellite mission undertaken by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) under the Department of Space for its customer, Network Access Associates Ltd (OneWeb), UK. 

The gen-1 satellites were launched into 450 km circular low earth orbit (Osculating) with an inclination of 87.4 degrees, after a 24-hour countdown. 

A global communication network powered from space, OneWeb is enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities and is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. India’s Bharti Enterprises serves as a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb.

This is OneWeb’s 18th launch and third this year, bringing its total of constellation to 618 satellites. “This launch is a major milestone for the company, with the number of satellites now in-orbit enabling global service, the first LEO operator to reach this milestone. OneWeb will soon be ready to roll out its global coverage,” ISRO said.

ISRO chairman S Somnath said the launch went off “extremely well” with the satellites going up to the right and intended orbits with “very minimal disturbances.” “Once again, LVM3 has provided that it is a very reliable and rugged vehicle which can carry large and heavy payloads and launch them into right orbits,” Somnath added.  

S Mohana Kumar, Mission Director, said the rocket has once again displayed its might and ruggedness. 

The payload is a bent-pipe system operating in Ku and Ka band The forward link receives Ka-band signals from the gateway via the satellite Ka antenna. The return link receives Ku-band signals from the User Terminals (UTs) via the satellite Ku antenna.

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