ISRO SSLV:- India’s upcoming ‘Small but a Game changer’ Rocket
Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (or SSLV) is a launch vehicle being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with payload capacity of 500 kg to Low Earth orbit or 300 kg to Sun synchronous orbit for launching small satellites. First test launch of SSLV is planned by end of this year .
SSLV will help India increase its footprints in the Highly competitive market of Launching small satellites.It was developed with the aim of launching small satellites commercially at drastically reduced price and higher launch rate as compared to PSLV. The manufacturing cost of SSLV is expected to be 10% of that of PSLV rocket .
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 SSLV is expected to be less than a week instead of months.
According to ISRO chief K Sivan, SSLV can be readied on demand with minimum launch infrastructure. SSLV can be assembled in 72 hours (3 days) by three to six people. The launch vehicle is capable of launching 500-830kg in low earth orbit ( 500-300km) and 300-560kg in a sun-synchronous orbit (500-300km).
PSLV has good track record of launching medium-small satellites, and India also has a medium lift launch vehicle GSLV Mk-3 which can carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). When PSLV orbited about 100 small satellites in a single launch, it demonstrated its fourth stage restart capability targeting multiple orbits. But the turnaround time of the PSLV is high and that is the problem which the SSLV would address.
Commercial usage aside, this is India’s one of the first steps to ensure uninterrupted access to space. Space assets are usually dual-use in nature. In case of ‘total war’, knocking out enemy country’s satellites would leave them almost blind and deaf. Both Russia and China have anti-satellite weapons. In a war, it is quite possible that China might destroy several Indian reconnaissance satellites orbiting in low earth orbit, which would cripple India’s strike capabilities. Assembling conventional rockets is a time-consuming process, it takes several weeks to assemble a PSLV rocket and even more in case of GSLV, and therefore cannot be used to launch a satellite on an emergency basis.
SSLV modules (boosters) will be fabricated in advance. Since SSLV can be assembled in a very short timeframe, it can be used to quickly replace lost satellites or augment other space-based assets during wartime.
Source:- Maxima Vigilantia