Why in News:
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hopes to complete all three development flights for its “baby rocket,” the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in 2022.
- The SSLV aims to cater to the market for the launch of small satellites into Earth’s low orbits that has emerged in recent years to cater to the needs of developing countries, universities for small satellites, and private corporations.
- With a weight of about 110 tonnes, it is the smallest vehicle. It will only take 72 hours to integrate, as opposed to the 70 days it now takes for a launch vehicle.
- Small satellite launches have so far depended on ‘piggy-back’ rides with big satellite launches on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). As a result, small satellite launches have relied on ISRO finalising launch contracts for larger satellites.
- It will be used for tiny satellites like nanosats and cubesats. The SSLV’s cargo capacity in Lower Earth Orbit (LEO) will be 500-700 kg, which is less than one-third the weight of the PLSV.
- It features a three-stage solid propulsion system and, like the PSLV and GSLV, can carry numerous satellites, albeit of a smaller size.
- It is capable of launching satellites weighing up to 500-700 kg into 500 km Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and 300 kg into Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).
- The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) can launch satellites weighing up to 1000 kg.
- It’s ideal for simultaneously launching numerous microsatellites and supporting multiple orbital drop-offs.
- Low cost, reduced turn-around time, flexibility in supporting many satellites, launch on demand capability, minimum launch infrastructure needs, etc..
- The SSLV’s development and production are anticipated to foster increased collaboration between the space industry and private Indian enterprises, which is a primary goal of the space ministry.
- One of the missions of the newly formed ISRO commercial branch, New Space India Limited (NSIL), is to mass-produce and manufacture the SSLV and the more powerful PSLV in India through knowledge transfers in collaboration with the corporate sector.