India launches Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, deploying three low-earth orbit satellites

Sunday, February 12, 2023

SSLV-D2 on its launchpad.
Image: ISRO.

On Friday, India's national space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), conducted the second test flight of its Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2), with three satellites onboard.

The launch took place at 9:18 AM Indian Standard Time (3:48 AM UTC) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre's first launchpad in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

After a 15-minute flight, all three satellites were in a 450 kilometer (280 mile) orbit: the ISRO's Earth Observation Satellite-7 (EOS-07), weighing 156.3 kilograms (344.6 lbs), US company Antaris' Janus-1, weighing 10.2 kilograms (22.5 lbs), and AzaadiSAT-2, constructed by 750 female students and weighing 8.8 kilograms (19.4 lbs).

ISRO announced the flight's success in a tweet: "SSLV-D2/EOS-07 Mission is [sic] accomplished successfully. SSLV-D2 placed EOS-07, Janus-1, and AzaadiSAT-2 into their intended orbits."

The SSLV's first test flight on August 7 ended in failure when, ejecting its occupants as planned, the vehicle propelled them into an unstable orbit and they could not muster the velocity to remain on the trajectory.

The SSLV caters to commercial satellites up to 500 kilograms (1,100 lbs) — the small and micro-satellite market — on a 'launch-on-demand' basis.

The Times of India stated the rocket's designers intended to provide access to space that is low-cost, quick, adaptable to many satellite designs, and demands minimal launch infrastructure.