India’s Small-Lift Rocket Succeeds During Do-Over Launch

India previously launched 36 satellites into orbit in October 2022 using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, two months after a first, failed attempt to launch satellites with the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle.
Image: Uncredited (AP)

The Indian Space Research Organization successfully injected three satellites into orbit with a launch of its Small Satellite Launch Vehicle. It marked ISRO’s second attempt at launching the rocket, which ran into serious difficulties during its inaugural mission.

This most recent launch of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, or SSLV, occurred on February 10 at 9:18 am Indian Standard Time (February 9 at 10:48 pm ET) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center. The SSLV is a three-stage rocket standing 111 feet (34 meters) tall and with the capacity to lift upwards of 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) to low Earth orbit. According to the ISRO, SSLV successfully deployed its three-satellite payload.

“SSLV-D2/EOS-07 Mission is accomplished successfully,” ISRO tweeted shortly after liftoff. “SSLV-D2 placed EOS-07, Janus-1, and AzaadiSAT-2 into their intended orbits.”

This is the second launch of SSLV but its first successful mission, as the rocket failed to deliver its payload during an August 2022 launch. During its inaugural launch—called SSLV-D1—SSLV managed to reach orbit and deploy the two satellites on board, but the satellites entered an unstable, highly-elliptical orbit, causing them to immediately deorbit. During this first launch, ISRO also detected an anomaly during the second stage separation.

“The SSLV-D1 was the first developmental mission of this new launch vehicle,” said ISRO in a statement after the SSLV-D1 mission. “SSLV-D1 mission demonstrated the satisfactory integrated performance of SSLV in all its systems including its flight through the aerodynamic regime, which is an accomplishment by itself.”

Nice words, but a rocket ain’t really a rocket until it can actually get the job done, which SSLV finally demonstrated with this latest mission. This second launch of the SSLV only adds to India’s growing space-faring capabilities. In October 2022India launched 36 OneWeb internet satellites into orbit using the organization’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.

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