ISRO heaviest rocket with 36 satellites on board lifts off

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heaviest rocket Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3 or GSLV Mark 3) which took off from the second launch pad (SLP) of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota at 12.07 a.m. (IST) has successfully orbited 36 satellites of U.K.-based OneWeb.

The 43.5 metre LVM3 weighing around 644 tonne carried 36 satellites weighing 5,796 kg or about 5.7 tonne. With this launch, LVM3 has made its entry into the global commercial launch service market.

VM3-M2 is the dedicated commercial satellite mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Department of Space, Government of India. This mission is being undertaken as part of the commercial arrangement between NSIL and m/s Network Access Associates Limited (m/s OneWeb Ltd), a U.K. based company. OneWeb is a joint venture between India’s Bharti Enterprises and the U.K. government.

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Addressing the media an hour after take off, ISRO Chairman S. Somanath said that all the satellites got separated successfully. He mentioned that the satellite separation is a slow process. Noting that this is a historic mission that was executed at the shortest possible time, he said the mission happened exactly as planned. He also mentioned that they would place another 36 satellites in the next M3 mission.


Sunil Bharti Mittal, CEO of Bharti Enterprises, whose company is one of the biggest investors in OneWeb, said that it is a new chapter for India in the space sector. He pointed out that there is a shortage of launch vehicles and this is a great opportunity for ISRO.

D. Radhakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director of NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), said that with this, India has made a remarkable entry into the commercial satellite launch market.

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