ISRO begins countdown for launch of LVM3 rocket carrying OneWeb satellites
CHENNAI: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Saturday began the countdown to Sunday’s planned launch of UK-based Network Access Associates Limited’s (OneWeb) LVM3 rocket carrying 36 satellites.
“The countdown started at 8.30 am and is progressing steadily,” a senior ISRO official told IANS.
During the countdown, the rocket and satellite systems will be checked, while the rocket will be refueled.
The 43.5 meter tall, 643 tonne Indian rocket LVM3 will lift off from the second launch pad at the rocket port in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 9 am carrying OneWeb’s
final batch of 36 Gen1 satellites weighing 5,805 kg.
The satellites will be placed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
The LVM3 is a three-stage rocket, the first stage is fired with liquid fuel, two belts of motors driven by solid fuel, the second by liquid fuel and the third by a cryogenic engine.
ISRO’s heavy lift rocket is capable of carrying 10 tonnes to Alio and four tonnes to Geo Transfer Orbit (GTO).
The upcoming rocket mission code LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 Mission has been named by ISRO.
19 minutes after the rocket blast off, the separation process of the satellite will begin. The separation of the 36 satellites will take place in phases.
OneWeb is backed by India’s telecom giant Bharti Group and with the successful launch of the satellites on March 26, the company will complete the global footprint of its Gen 1 constellation.
OneWeb now has 582 satellites in orbit. The total is expected to rise to 618 on March 26.
By completing Constellation, OneWeb is taking a major step in providing global coverage, including India, the company said.
The upcoming release will be OneWeb’s 18th one.
The first batch of 36 satellites called Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII (GSLV MkIII) was launched on October 23, 2022 from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh by an LVM3 rocket.
OneWeb Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal had announced last October that ISRO’s business unit NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) has signed a deal with OneWeb to launch 72 satellites in two phases at a launch cost of over Rs 1,000 crore.
OneWeb Gen-1 is a 150 kg satellite. The A constellation consists of 648 individual satellites. It consists of 588 active satellites equally divided into 12 planes and operating at an altitude of about 1200 km above the Earth’s surface.
Each aircraft is separated by 4 km altitude to prevent inter-aircraft collisions.
The payload is a curved tube system operating in the Ku and Ka bands. The forward link receives Ka-band signals from the gateway via a satellite called a Ka antenna. The return link receives Ku-band signals from user terminals (UTs) via the satellite’s Ku antenna, ISRO said.