The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has started the countdown to launch 36 OneWeb internet satellites into space. The probe will be launched into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) from India’s heaviest launch vehicle, the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM-III).
The LVM-III will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota at 9:00 am on Sunday to put the 36 satellites into orbit. The deployment will complete the first grouping of 648 satellites by the UK company around the planet. The satellites are divided into 12 planes and they operate at an altitude of 1200 kilometers above the planet.
What is OneWeb Satellite?
The OneWeb constellation is a network of satellites around the planet that aims to provide broadband connectivity around the world. The UK company is operating a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. India’s Bharti Enterprises serves as a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb.
The 18th launch scheduled for Sunday will complete the deployment of its first group, enabling it to provide global services. “OneWeb will soon be ready to start its global coverage,” ISRO said in a mission description. The 150 kg satellites are deployed in 12 planes, each plane spaced four kilometers in height to prevent inter-plane collisions.
This will be the second launch of OneWeb satellites from India last year after the company severed ties with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, for launching its satellite constellation over the Ukraine war.
What is LVM-III?
The LVM-III is a three-stage launch vehicle consisting of two solid propellant S200 strap-ons and L110 liquid stages, C25 cryogenic stage, equipment bay (EB) and encapsulated assembly (EA). ISRO said the encapsulated assembly comprises the spacecraft, payload adapter (PLA) and payload fairing.
The weight of the rocket is 640 tonnes.
LVM-III is the new name for India’s heaviest launch vehicle, the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV-MkIII). The only reason behind changing the name of the vehicle from GSLV to LVM is that the rocket will not deploy satellites into geosynchronous orbit. OneWeb satellites operate in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 1,200 km.