- The SSLV will carry one of India's Earth Observation Satellites, EOS-2, on its first flight, which will be used for mapping and developing various GIS applications.
- The SSLV, which is primarily intended for commercial use, is expected to cost one-fourth the price of the current PSLV.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch its newly developed Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) on August 7, ahead of the country’s Independence Day celebrations.
“The SSLV-D1/EOS-02 Mission will launch on Sunday, August 7, 2022, at 9:18 a.m. (IST) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota,” the space agency announced on Twitter.
This is significant because India was set to celebrate its 75th anniversary of independence with the first human spaceflight, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day, 2018.
Due to the pandemic, work on the Gaganyaan mission, the country’s first manned flight to space, has been delayed, with the first abort test scheduled for later this year to demonstrate the crew escape system to be used in the event of an emergency mid-flight.
The pandemic also caused a two-year delay in the SSLV mission. Experts believe that this could jeopardise the space agency’s economic prospects in the global space market, as the new launch vehicle was designed with commercial launches of small satellites in mind, with a quick turn-around time for the missions in mind.
The SSLV will carry one of India’s Earth Observation Satellites, EOS-2, on its first flight, which will be used for mapping and developing various GIS applications.
It will be equipped with a mid-wavelength infrared camera and a long-wavelength infrared camera with a 6 metre resolution. The satellite, weighing 142 kg, will have a ten-month mission life.
“The SSLV’s release was long overdue. It will relieve Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles of the burden of commercial launches (PSLV). In addition, small satellites will most likely be launched cheaply and quickly.
ISRO should be able to do so, especially now that space startups are encouraged,” said Ajey Lele, senior fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
SSLV will also carry the AzadiSat, a satellite developed by 750 rural students from across the country and coordinated by SpaceKidz India, a space start-up, on its maiden flight.
The SSLV, which is primarily intended for commercial use, is expected to cost one-fourth the price of the current PSLV. It can also be assembled in seven days by a team of six people, as opposed to a team of 600 people who take several months to assemble a PSLV.