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LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 Mission

Context: In its second commercial launch, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark 3) successfully placed 36 OneWeb satellites in low earth orbit (LEO).

What is the LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 Mission?

  • About: It is a joint mission between the ISRO and OneWeb, where ISRO’s LMV-3 rocket was used to launch 36 OneWeb internet satellites into orbit for the OneWeb satellite constellation.
    • This is OneWeb’s 18th launch, its third this year, bringing the total of OneWeb’s constellation to 618 satellites.
  • Background: ISRO’s commercial arm New Space India Limited (NSIL) had signed a contract with OneWeb to launch 72 satellites in two phases.
    • The first set of 36 satellites was launched in LVM3-M2/OneWeb India-1 mission on October 23, 2022.
  • Significance: This is the second OneWeb fleet that ISRO has launched. This initiated India’s journey into the commercial heavy lift-off space.

About the OneWeb Constellation

  • OneWeb is a satellite constellation being built by OneWeb, which aims to provide broadband satellite Internet services.
    • OneWeb (legally Network Access Associates Ltd) is a UK based communications company.
  • Features of the constellation:
    • The constellation uses low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide broadband internet access instead of the traditional method of using satellites placed in geostationary orbits (GEO).
    • Satellites are arranged in 12 rings (Orbital planes) with 49 satellites in each plane.
    • The orbital planes are inclined to be near polar (87.9 Deg.)
    • The orbital planes are 1200 km above the Earth. Each satellite completes a full trip around the earth every 109 minutes.
  • Significance:
    • Internet advancement: OneWeb’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites provide greater coverage, speed, and reliability compared to traditional systems.
    • Bridging the Digital Divide: OneWeb aims to provide internet access to remote and under-served areas around the world, bridging the digital divide.
    • Disaster Relief and Emergency Communications: OneWeb’s network can be used for disaster relief and emergency communications, providing a reliable means of communication when traditional infrastructure is damaged or unavailable.
OneWeb India-2 Mission
OneWeb India-2 Mission

What is LMV-3?

  • The Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3), previously referred as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk3), is a medium-lift launch vehicle developed by the ISRO.
  • The LVM3 will go everywhere —GEO, Medium Earth orbit (MEO), LEO, and missions to the moon, sun.
  • Stages: It is a three-stage launch vehicle consisting of two solid propellant S200 strap-ons on its sides and core stage comprising L110 liquid stage and C25 cryogenic stage.
  • Capacity: The rocket is capable of launching 4,000-kilogram class of satellites into GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit) and 8,000 kgs of payloads into LEO.
  • Other important launch vehicles of ISRO:
    • Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV): The first rocket developed by ISRO was simply called SLV, or Satellite Launch Vehicle.
    • Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV): SLV and ASLV both could carry small satellites, weighing up to 150 kg, to lower earth orbits. ASLV operated till the early 1990s.
    • Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV): PSLV’s first launch was in 1994, and it has been ISRO’s main rocket ever since.
      • It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
      • PSLV is the most reliable rocket used by ISRO to date, with 52 of its 54 flights being successful.
      • It successfully launched two spacecraft – Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013.
    • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV): GSLV is a much more powerful rocket, meant to carry heavier satellites much deeper into space.
      • The indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), forms the third stage of GSLV Mk II.
      • GSLV Mark-III is the most advanced one and was used to launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon in 2019, which was the first operational flight of the rocket.
      • ISRO has renamed the GSLV Mark-III as Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LMV-3).

Related Information: Important reforms to promote private players in space sector

  • Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe):
    • IN-SPACe is an autonomous, single window nodal agency; formed to promote, authorize, monitor and supervise the space activities of Nongovernmental Private Entities (NGPEs) in India.
    • Mandate and Functions:
      • Sharing of space infrastructure and premises under the control of ISRO.
      • Establishment of temporary facilities within premises under ISRO.
      • Establishment of new space infrastructure and facilities, by NGPEs.
    • The decision of IN-SPACe shall be final and binding on all stakeholders including ISRO. NGPEs will not be required to seek separate permission from ISRO.
  • New Space India Limited (NSIL):
    • It is country’s first public sector undertaking in the space sector and commercial arm of ISRO aimed at production and marketing of space-based services, also empowered to own the operational launch vehicles and space assets of ISRO.
    • It enables better collaboration with start-ups and private sector players without the hassle of government intervention.
  • Draft Spacecom Policy 2020: It aims at meeting the growing demands of space-based communication requirements of the nation and advancements in the relevant technologies for self-sustenance in areas of commercial, secured and societal communications.

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