From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : SSLV, PSLV, GSLV
Mains level : Commercial space activities in India
The new chairman of the ISRO Dr S Somanath has indicated inauguration of indigenous new launch rockets, called the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
What is SSLV?
- The SSLV is a small-lift launch vehicle being developed by the ISRO with payload capacity to deliver:
- 600 kg to Low Earth Orbit (500 km) or
- 300 kg to Sun-synchronous Orbit (500 km)
- It would help launching small satellites, with the capability to support multiple orbital drop-offs.
- In future a dedicated launch pad in Sriharikota called Small Satellite Launch Complex (SSLC) will be set up.
- A new spaceport, under development, near Kulasekharapatnam in Tamil Nadu will handle SSLV launches when complete.
- After entering the operational phase, the vehicle’s production and launch operations will be done by a consortium of Indian firms along with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).
- Height: 34 meters
- Diameter: 2 meters
- Mass: 120 tonnes
- It will be a four stage launching vehicle.
- The first three stages will use Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) based solid propellant, with a fourth terminal stage being a Velocity-Trimming Module (VTM).
SSLV vs. PSLV: A comparison
- The SSLV was developed with the aim of launching small satellites commercially at drastically reduced price and higher launch rate as compared to Polar SLV (PSLV).
- The projected high launch rate relies on largely autonomous launch operation and on overall simple logistics.
- To compare, a PSLV launch involves 600 officials while SSLV launch operations would be managed by a small team of about six people.
- The launch readiness period of the SSLV is expected to be less than a week instead of months.
- The SSLV can carry satellites weighing up to 500 kg to a low earth orbit while the tried and tested PSLV can launch satellites weighing in the range of 1000 kg.
- The entire job will be done in a very short time and the cost will be only around Rs 30 crore for SSLV.
Significance of SSLV
- SSLV is perfectly suited for launching multiple microsatellites at a time and supports multiple orbital drop-offs.
- The development and manufacture of the SSLV are expected to create greater synergy between the space sector and private Indian industries – a key aim of the space ministry.