ISRO's LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 mission launched: All you need to know
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has launched its LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 mission with 36 satellites. The mission took off by hitching a ride on India's largest Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM3) rocket, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The launch will position OneWeb's satellites in the Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), and aid in completing the firm's satellite constellation for providing global internet services.
Why does this story matter?
- Last year, UK-based OneWeb inked a deal with ISRO's commercial launch division NewSpace India Ltd to deploy 72 satellites into LEO. This was supposed to be done in two phases at a cost of Rs. 1,000 crore.
- The first deployment of 36 satellites was done in October 2022, and now the second group of the remaining 36 has been launched.
A brief history of today's launch
The countdown of the LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 mission began on Saturday while the launch took place today at 9 am. The 43.5-meter-tall LVM3 rocket took off with a payload of 5,805kg comprising 36 satellites. They will be placed in a 450-km circular orbit with an inclination of roughly 87.4 degrees. This marks ISRO's second launch this year after the SSLV-D2/EOS07 mission back in February.
A few facts about the mission
The OneWeb India-2 mission marks the sixth flight of the LVM3 rocket, earlier known as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII (GSLVMkIII). It took part in five consecutive missions for ISRO, including the Chandrayaan-2. Meanwhile, today saw the 18th launch of OneWeb, and its third this year. The company's first generation of LEO satellite constellation for global internet services has been completed.
What did OneWeb have to say?
OneWeb put out a statement describing the feat. "17 launches completed. One pivotal launch remains - OneWeb Launch 18. As we launch another 36 satellites with our colleagues at ISRO and NewSpace India Ltd this weekend, we will reach 616 satellites in-orbit more than enough to launch global services later this year." The firm described the mission as one of its "most significant milestones."
How do the OneWeb satellites operate?
The OneWeb satellites are deployed at an altitude of 1,200km in the LEO to deliver broadband internet access. This is different from other operators who place satellites in geostationary orbits (GEO) above the equator for the same. Placing satellites in LEO increases bandwidth and reduces latency in space. The company is planning to launch its services in India later this year.