Spaceflight has purchased the first commercial launch of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) from NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), scheduled for launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India later this year.
Spaceflight has already sold out the entire manifest for this secured SSLV-D2 launch with spacecraft from an undisclosed U.S.-based satellite constellation customer. Spaceflight will aggregate the mission, delivering a single point of contact for the customer, handling all aspects of integration and mission management for the launch.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) developed the SSLV with a payload capacity of 500 kg to mid-inclination Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) making it ideally suited for launching small satellites. By comparison, the larger Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from ISRO is capable of launching 1100 – 1600 kg capacity payload into SSO.
“The SSLV is the much-needed solution to fill the gap in the portfolio of small launch vehicles,” said Curt Blake, CEO and President of Spaceflight. “SSLV is designed for the launch-on-demand concept with very quick turn-around capability in between launches. SSLV is perfectly suited for launching multiple microsatellites at a time and supports multiple orbital drop-offs. We’re excited to add SSLV to our launch portfolio and manage many launches together – first to LEO mid-inclinations this year and SSO missions starting in the fall of 2020.”
With the completion of this mission, Spaceflight will have executed nine missions with ISRO, sending more than 100 spacecraft to orbit aboard its launch vehicles. The first SSLV mission will deploy commercial spacecraft in two different orbital planes.
Blake added, “As our customers seek to populate their constellations, they want access to launch vehicles sized for their spacecraft and budgets, across a mix of rideshare and dedicated missions. ISRO has been a trusted and reliable launch partner for years with the PSLV, and we’re very excited to work with NSIL to offer customers the option to launch from SSLV, hence our purchase of its first available launch.”
“We’re taking advantage of the growth in the small satellite market to deliver more launch options with the mini-launcher, and look forward to many more launches with Spaceflight,” said Radhakrishnan D, Director NSIL.
For Spaceflight, this mission follows the successful launches of PSLV-C45 which deployed 21 rideshare spacecraft, GTO-1, which deployed the first commercial lunar lander in February aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, and SSO-A, the company’s historic dedicated rideshare mission, which launched 64 unique smallsats in December 2018. To date, Spaceflight has negotiated the launch of 270 satellites and has plans for approximately 10 missions in 2019 launching nearly 100 payloads across a wide variety of launch vehicles, including the Falcon 9, Antares, Electron, Vega, Soyuz, LauncherOne, and PSLV/SSLV.