India brings GSLV MkIII rocket to commercial launch market, to start with OneWeb’s 36 satellites in October

India is bringing the GSLV MkIII rocket to the commercial launch market for launch in October with OneWeb's 36 satellites

Chennai, come this October India will deploy another of its missiles – the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV MkIII) – into the market for commercial launches.

Since 1999, India has launched 345 foreign satellites from 36 countries with its help Polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

Sometime in the third week of October 2022, Indian Space Research Organization‘s (ISRO) rocket GSLV MkIII will fly with 36 satellites OneWeban Indo-British satellite communications joint venture company, an Indian space sector official said.

“The total mass of the launch will be six tons,” the official told IANS.

The proposed mission has several firsts for the Indian space sector. These are: (a) the first commercial launch of GSLV MkIII (b) the first time an Indian missile has carried a payload of around six tons (c) the first time OneWeb has used an Indian missile to launch its satellites into the (d) First commercial launch of GSLV MkIII on behalf of NewSpace India Ltdthe commercial arm of the Indian space sector, and (e) GSLV MkIII or its variants are used for the first time for launch of satellites in low earth orbit (LEO).

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Another set of 36 OneWeb satellites is scheduled to be launched in January 2023.

“One additional launch will occur this year and three more are planned for early next year to complete the constellation,” OneWeb had said.

OneWeb, a joint venture between India Bharti Global and the British government.

The satellite company plans to have a constellation of 650 satellites in low earth orbit to provide communications services.

The GSLV MkIII, with a launch mass of 640 tons, is a three-stage rocket powered by solid, liquid and cryogenic engines.

The rocket was designed to carry four-ton satellites Geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and about 10 tons of LEO.

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Meanwhile, the first batch of 36 OneWeb satellites has arrived at India’s missile port in Sriharikota Andhra Pradesh.

With this launch, OneWeb will have more than 70 percent of its planned Gen 1 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation in orbit as it makes strides to deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity services around the world.

OneWeb plans a constellation of 650 satellites in LEO to provide communications services.

Bharti Enterprises, a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb, announced a distribution partnership with Hughes Communications India Private Ltd this year.

OneWeb will connect towns, villages and local and regional communities in the hardest to reach areas, playing a crucial role in bridging India’s digital divide.

“The launch of 36 OneWeb satellites aboard GSLV-MkIII from India is a historic moment for NSIL and ISRO. We are pleased to see the arrival of the satellites and ground support equipment in India in preparation for launch. Teams at NSIL/ISRO work genuinely to provide the best in launch service solutions and support for OneWeb satellites, and we wish their teams every success in their upcoming activities at SDSC-SHAR and launch,” said Radhakrishnan D, Chairman-cum-Managing Director , NSIL, said.

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Space sector experts had previously told IANS that US and European economic sanctions against Russia over its military action in Ukraine could create economic opportunities for India’s space sector rather than burdening it with economic costs.

They also said that in order to capitalize on the opportunities, India should accelerate its satellite launch capacities and announce productivity-linked incentive schemes (PLI) for the aerospace sector.

OneWeb board voted to suspend satellite launches from the Baikonur missile port in Russia.


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