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ISRO scripts history with successful commercial mission LVM3-M2

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)s heaviest rocket LVM3-M2 lifts off from a launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022. The rocket successfully placed 36 broadband communication satellites of OneWeb into the intended orbits, on ISROs maiden commercial mission. A PTI Photo

SRIHARIKOTA/BENGALURU, AP, (PTI):  Indian Space Research Organisations' heaviest rocket LVM3-M2 on its maiden commercial mission has successfully placed 36 broadband communication satellites of a UK-based customer into the intended orbits, the space agency said, describing the mission as 'historic'.

OneWeb Ltd is the UK-based customer of NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), ISRO's commercial arm, and a global communication network powered from space, enabling internet connectivity for governments and businesses. Bharti Enterprises is one of the major investors in OneWeb.

London-based satellite communications company Network Access Associated Limited (OneWeb) said its partnership with ISRO and the space agency's commercial arm NSIL demonstrated its commitment to provide connectivity across the length and breadth of India by 2023.

President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the space scientists and other stakeholders for the success.

"Congratulations @NSIL_India @INSPACeIND @ISRO on the successful launch of our heaviest launch vehicle LVM3 with 36 OneWeb satellites meant for global connectivity. LVM3 exemplifies Atmanirbharta & enhances India's competitive edge in the global commercial launch service market," Modi said.

"The team of @ISRO, @NSIL_India & @INSPACeIND achieved an impressive feat of successfully launching LVM3 with 36 satellites aimed at enhancing global connectivity. The country is proud of our scientists and their showcasing of the nation's indigenous capabilities. Congratulations!" Murmu tweeted.

With Sunday's success, ISRO put behind the anomaly experienced in its August 7 Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) mission, that had then made the satellites unusable due to orbital issues.

Early on Sunday, a beaming ISRO Chairman S Somanath announced Deepavali had started early for the scientists at the space agency.

"LVM3 M2/OneWeb India-1 mission is completed successfully. All the 36 satellites have been placed into intended orbits. @NSIL_India @OneWeb," ISRO said in a tweet, minutes after Somanath announced that 16 satellites have been placed in the desired orbits while the rest would take some more time.

All the 36 satellites were injected into the orbits around 75 minutes after the rocket blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport at 12.07 am.

Addressing the gathering at the Mission Control Centre, Somanath said the festival celebrations started at Satish Dhawan Space Centre as LVM3 and its very first commercial mission have accomplished the orbit very accurately.

"Now the rocket has entered into the orbit, 16 satellites out of the 36 satellites have been already injected. I wanted to tell you that this is a slow process of separating the satellites. The data of the separation of the remaining 20 satellites will come little later and mission operations of observing this separation is continuing", he said earlier. ISRO later confirmed the desired objective of the mission has been met.

Former ISRO chiefs K Sivan and A S Kiran Kumar and Bharti Enterprises founder-chairman Sunil Mittal among others witnessed the launch from the Mission Control Centre.

Terming the mission as 'historic', Somanath, also the Secretary, Department of Space credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi's support for the mission's success.

"Congratulations to the entire launch vehicle team for grabbing the opportunity and making it ready today for the historic mission. I also want to thank the OneWeb team for having confidence in us to host the LVM3...we are very hopeful that the next mission of LVM3 will do the same to place the remaining 36 satellites it has been contracted by NSIL", he said.

NSIL Chairman and Managing Director D Radhakrishnan, complementing the ISRO team for a 'commendable' mission of LVM3 said, "the three major stakeholders to this particular mission the NSIL, ISRO and OneWeb India, have shown the entire world how to contract and execute the mission in less than 3-4 months."

According to OneWeb, it will bring secured solutions not only to enterprises but also to towns, villages, municipalities and schools, including the hardest-to-reach areas across the length and breadth of the country.

"OneWeb's commitment to enhance connectivity in India is backed by Bharti Global, its largest investor," the company said in a statement.

"This launch by ISRO and NSIL is one of the biggest commercial orders by India's premier space organisation, and the first using the LVM3 rocket," OneWeb noted.

OneWeb's satellites separated successfully from the rocket and were dispensed in nine phases over a period of one hour and 15 minutes, with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.

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