The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has entered the commercial launch market by placing 36 ‘OneWeb’ satellites into orbit. This is the first time that ISRO has launched a payload for a commercial customer, and marks a significant milestone for the organization.
OneWeb is a global communications company that provides satellite-based Internet and voice services to businesses, governments, and consumers. The company offers a variety of services, including high-speed Internet, voice, and data. OneWeb also provides a variety of value-added services, such as VoIP, video conferencing, and e-mail. OneWeb has a global footprint and is headquartered in London, UK.
Referring to OneWeb’s planned launch of its Gen2 satellites, Mittal said the company may need about 12-16 launches and ISRO will have a major role to play. “There is a shortage of launch vehicles and ISRO now has a great opportunity,” Mittal added. According to D.Radhakrishnan, CMD of NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), ISRO’s commercial arm, the GSLV MkIII has made a remarkable entry into the commercial satellite launch market. ISRO’s experience and expertise in the area of launching satellites will be a great help to OneWeb in achieving its goals. The company is confident that ISRO will be able to provide the necessary support in terms of launching their Gen2 satellites.
The 43.5 metre tall and 644 ton LVM3 M2 rocket blasted off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 12.07 a.m., carrying 36 satellites weighing a total of 5,796 kg or about 5.7 tonnes. With the thick orange flame at its tail, the rocket lit up the clear midnight sky as it growled its way into the air. About 20 minutes into its flight, the LVM3 began slinging the satellites of Network Access Associated Ltd (OneWeb) into low earth orbit (LEO).
The successful launch of the 36 satellites is a major coup for ISRO, and is sure to bolster their reputation in the commercial launch market. With more and more companies looking to capitalize on the burgeoning market for satellite-based internet services, ISRO is well-positioned to become a major player in this arena.