Sriharikota, Press Trust of India: The heaviest rocket of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) – LVM3-M2/OneWeb India-1 – blasted off from the spaceport in Sriharikota, A on Sunday to place 36 broadband communication satellites into the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for a private satellite communications firm based in the UK.
NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a central public sector enterprise under the Department of Space, had earlier signed two launch service contracts with the London-headquartered Network Access Associated Limited (OneWeb) for launching OneWeb LEO satellites on board ISRO's LVM3.
OneWeb is a private satellite communications company, in which India's Bharti Enterprises is a major investor and shareholder.
On Sunday, the 43.5 metre tall rocket soared majestically at 12.07 am from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at the end of the 24-hour countdown.
The vehicle is also dubbed as one of the heaviest for its ability to carry satellites upto 8,000 kg.
The mission assumes significance as this was LVM3's maiden commercial mission and also NSIL's first with the said launch vehicle.
According to ISRO, the mission has the heaviest payloads with 36 satellites of OneWeb, becoming the first Indian rocket with a payload of 5,796 kg.
The launch is also first for LVM3-M2 to place the satellites in the Low Earth Orbit (up to 1,200 kms above the earth) unlike Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
ISRO scientists have rechristened the launch vehicle its present name from GSLV-MKK III as the newest rocket is capable of launching 4,000 kilogram class of satellites into GTO and 8,000 kgs of payloads into LEO.
GSLV-Mk III had four successful missions in the past. LVM3-M2 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. OneWeb Ltd is a global communication network powered from space, enabling internet connectivity for governments and businesses.