New Delhi: The New Space India Limited (NSIL), the newly established commercial subsidiary of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has got its first customer – an American space rideshare company, Spaceflight.
The American firm has bought a payload slot on the first commercial launch of ISRO’s newest rocket – Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). The first flight of SSLV is slated to take place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre later this year.
The SSLV is designed to inject small satellites weighing up to 500 kg in low earth orbits, and NSIL has been tasked with the production of the rocket in collaboration with private players. The first SSLV mission will deploy commercial spacecraft in two different orbital planes.
The induction of SSLV is likely to boost the launch capacity of the space agency in the small satellite category. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is capable of launching satellites in 1100-1600 kg class into Sun Synchronous Orbit.
“SSLV is perfectly suited for launching multiple microsatellites at a time and supports multiple orbital drop-offs. It is designed for the launch-on-demand concept with very quick turn-around capability in between launches,” Curt Blake, CEO and president of Spaceflight, said in a press release. “We are very excited to work with NSIL to offer customers the option to launch from SSLV, hence our purchase of its first available launch.”
Spaceflight is a rideshare company that provides launch and mission services to its customers using rockets of different agencies. It has executed nine missions with ISRO, sending over 100 spacecraft to orbits aboard its launch vehicles. In April this year, ISRO launched 21 satellites for Spaceflight in its PSLV C-45 mission. These included 20 Flock-4a satellites from the constellation called Planet and Astrocast-02 3U CubeSat from Switzerland-based Astrocast.
“We are taking advantage of the growth in the small satellite market to deliver more launch options with the mini-launcher,” Radhakrishnan D., Director of NSIL, was quoted as saying in the release.
NSIL is ISRO’s second commercial arm after Antrix Corporation.