In its second development flight, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) smallest vehicle – Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2), was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. It will place the ISRO’s earth observation satellite EOS-07 and two co-passenger satellites – Janus-1 and AzaadiSat2 – developed by start-ups, in a 450-km circular orbit around the Earth.


What is ‘Small Satellite Launch Vehicle’?

  • SSLV is a 3 stage Launch Vehicle configured with —
      • Three Solid Propulsion Stages and
      • Liquid propulsion-based Velocity Trimming Module (VTM) as a terminal
  • It is 2m in diameter and 34m in length with a lift off weight of 120 tonnes and is capable of launching ~500 kg satellite in 500 km planar orbit from SHAR.
  • The key features of SSLV are —
      • Low cost,
      • With low turn-around time,
      • Flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites,
      • Minimal launch infrastructure requirements (assembled by a small team in a week, compared to 6 months and 600 people for ISRO’s workhorse PSLV), etc.
  • The new vehicle was developed to capture the emerging small (nano-micro-mini) satellite commercial market, with launches offered on demand.
  • The vehicle’s first development flight (August 2022, EOS 02), failed to place the satellites in precise orbit.
      • A new vehicle is declared operational by the space agency after it completes two successful development flights.
      • The last vehicle to be declared operational was the GSLV Mk III, now called LVM 3, when it carried Chandrayaan-2 in 2019.


What is on-board?

  • Janus-1 (weight 10.2 kg) is a technology demonstrator satellite built by US-based Antaris and its Indian partners XDLinks and Ananth Technologies. It is a cube satellite with five payloads on board – two from Singapore, and one each from Kenya, Australia, and Indonesia.
  • AzaadiSat2 is a Cubesat weighing around 8 kg and carries 75 different payloads. Girl students from rural regions across the country were provided guidance to build these payloads. The payloads are integrated by the student team of “Space Kidz India”.
  • EOS-07 is a 156.3 kg satellite designed, developed and realised by ISRO. Its mission objective is to design and develop payload instruments compatible with microsatellite buses and new technologies for future operational satellites. It would also design and develop a microsatellite accommodating new technology payloads in a quick turn-around time.