The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is getting ready its rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV MkIII) for launching 36 satellites of OneWeb in the third or fourth week of this month.
According to ISRO, the two solid fuel fired booster motors have been strapped on to the liquid fuel powered second stage at the second launch pad at the rocket port in Sriharikota.
The GSLV MkIII is a three stage rocket with the first staged fired by solid fuel, the second by liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine.
According to ISRO, the 36 satellites have undergone health checks successfully and has been integrated with the dispenser unit.
After this, the cryogenic stage will be stacked on the second stage and the integration of heat shield or payload fairing with the 36 satellites will happen, said ISRO.
The NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) the commercial arm of ISRO has signed two contracts with Network Access Associated Ltd (OneWeb) for launching the latter's broadband communication satellites in low earth orbit.
"The total launch mass will be six tonne," the official told IANS.
The proposed mission has several firsts for the Indian space sector. They are: (a) The first commercial launch of GSLV MkIII (b) First time an Indian rocket will be ferrying a payload of about six tonne (c) First time OneWeb is using an Indian rocket to put its satellites into orbit (d) First commercial launch of GSLV MkIII contracted by NSIL, the commercial arm of Indian space sector and (e) First time GSLV MkIII or its variants is being used for launching satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Another set of 36 satellites from OneWeb is planned to be put into orbit in January 2023.
"One additional launch will take place this year and three more are targeted for early next year to complete the constellation," OneWeb had said.
OneWeb, a joint venture between India Bharti Global and the UK government.
The satellite company plans to have a constellation of 650 satellites in low earth orbit to offer communication services.
The GSLV MkIII with a lift off mass of 640 ton is a three stage rocket powered by solid, liquid and cryogenic engines.
The rocket was designed to carry four tonne satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and about 10 tons to LEO.
With this launch, OneWeb will have more than 70 per cent of its planned Gen 1 Low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation in orbit as it progresses to deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity services around the world.
Bharti Enterprises, a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb, this year announced a distribution partnership with Hughes Communications India Private Ltd.