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SSLV - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore - UPSC


What’s in news?

New Space India Ltd (NSIL), the newly established commercial subsidiary of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has got its first customer, an American space rideshare company, Spaceflight.

Key data’s:

  • The American firm has bought payload slot on the first commercial launch of ISRO’s newest rocket — “Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) or baby rocket”.
  • It will be used exclusively for small satellites such as nanosats and cubesats.
  • The first flight of SSLV is slated to take place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre later this year.  It has been completely booked by an undisclosed US-based satellite constellation customer.
  • SSLV is designed to inject small satellites weighing up to 500 kilogrammes in low earth orbits and the satellites with 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO), making it ideal for launching small satellites.  
  • NSIL has been tasked with 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 launch capacity of the space agency in small satellite category as 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.
  • The first three stages of the vehicle (SSLV) use solid propellant, with a fourth stage being a velocity-trimming module.
  • Vehicle characteristics of the vehicle:
    • Height: 34.0 meters
    • Diameter: 2.0 meters
    • Mass: 120 Tonnes
  • Unlike the GSLV and PSLV, the SSLV can be assembled both vertically and horizontally.


  • A dedicated launcher for small satellites, not only would cost reduce drastically but also there will be more opportunities to focus on primary research and delineate big satellite launch from small satellite launch.
  • Future small-satellite launch market will favor ridesharing and customized services on larger launch vehicles rather than small satellite launch vehicle.


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