Shortly after Friday midnight, the countdown will begin for the launch of 36 broadband communication satellites on board ISRO’s heaviest rocket Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3) from Sriharikota spaceport.
The launch of ‘LVM3 – M2/OneWeb India-1 Mission’ is scheduled at 0007 hours IST on October 23 (midnight of October 22).
OneWeb is a private satellite communications company. India’s Bharti Enterprises is a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb.
It will mark the launcher’s entry into the global commercial launch service market, according to the Bengaluru-headquartered national space agency.
“A 24-hour countdown is slated to begin at 0007 hours on October 22,” an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official said on Friday afternoon.
NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a central public sector enterprise under the Department of Space, had earlier signed two launch service contracts with the London-headquartered Network Access Associated Limited (OneWeb) for launching OneWeb LEO (low earth orbit) satellites on board ISRO’s LVM3.
“It is (the) first LVM3 dedicated commercial launch on demand through NSIL,” NSIL, the space agency’s commercial arm, had said.
“Another set of 36 OneWeb satellites will be launched by LVM3 in the first half of next year,” an NSIL official told PTI.
“This contract with M/s OneWeb is a historic milestone for NSIL and ISRO, as LVM3, is making its entry into the global commercial launch service market,” according to ISRO.
The newest rocket is capable of launching a four tonne class of satellite to Geosynchronous Transfer orbit (GTO).
LVM3 is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons, a liquid propellant core stage and a cryogenic stage.