ISRO PUTS 36 ONE WEB SATELLITES INTO ORBIT

  • With a roaring sound, LVM3, the heaviest payload rocket of the Indian Space Research Organisation carrying 36 OneWeb satellites on board, took off at 9.20 a.m. on Sunday from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.
  • The satellites separated successfully from the rocket and were dispensed in nine phases over an hour and 14 minutes, with signal acquisition on all 36 confirmed.
  • This is the second mission for Network Access Associates Ltd., U.K. (OneWeb Group Company) under a commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL) to launch 72 satellites into low-earth orbits (LEOs).
  • The first set of 36 satellites was launched in the LVM3-M2/OneWeb India-1 mission on October 23, 2022.
  • In the current mission, the 43.5-metre-tall vehicle weighing 643 tonnes was expected to place 36 OneWeb Gen-1 satellites totalling about 5,805 kg into a 450-km circular orbit with an inclination of 87.4 degrees. This is the sixth flight of LVM3. The rocket had five consecutive successful missions, including Chandrayaan-2.
  • “The first 16 satellites have already been placed in the right orbit,” Somanath S., Secretary, Department of Space, and Chairman, ISRO, said from the control room.
  • He said the mission had the upgraded S200 motors with enhanced margins suitable for the upcoming Gaganyaan mission and the motors performed very well.
  • In the coming months, the space agency was looking at a PSLV commercial mission in April, another GSLV-Mk3 for Chandrayaan-3 and a GSLV-Mk2 mission.
  • Sunil Bharti Mittal, executive chairman of OneWeb and founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, in a Web call, said OneWeb is awaiting India’s space communication policy and the policy on spectrum allocation to launch its services here.
  • “In my work, I have seen the power of connectivity bring benefits to all, wherever they are. Yet half the world’s population does not have access to fast, reliable connectivity.
  • Today’s launch represents a major step towards closing the digital divide. OneWeb’s global constellation will play a pivotal role in realising this dream,” he said.
  • Radhakrishnan D., Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NSIL, said it looked forward to be associated with One Web not only in the area of providing launch solutions but also in other business endeavours.
  • “This launch is a significant milestone for India to move towards benefiting from remarkable capabilities of LEO connectivity and the spread of space-based Internet.
  • This will surely aid in addressing the issue of low fixed broadband penetration and bridge the digital divide in the country’s most remote areas,” said A.K. Bhatt, Director General, Indian Space Association.
  • OneWeb is a global communication network powered from space, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities.
  • It is implementing a constellation of LEO satellites. India’s Bharti Enterprises serves as a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb.
  • This is OneWeb’s 18th launch, its third this year, bringing its 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.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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