SMALL SATELLITE LAUNCH VEHICLE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     15th February 2024        
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Context: The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), first proposed in 2016, was meant to be India’s challenge to the dominance of the US in space launch services. But in the past two years, it has only seen two demonstrator launches.

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)

  • Number of Stages: Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) is a 3 stage Launch Vehicle configured with three Solid Propulsion Stages and liquid propulsion-based Velocity Trimming Module (VTM) as a terminal stage. 
  • Payload: SSLV is capable of launching 500kg satellite in 500km planar orbit
  • Small in Stature, Big in Potential: Compared to its ISRO siblings, the SSLV boasts a compact design and payload capacity. While the workhorse PSLV carries 1.75 tonnes, and the behemoth LVM3 manages a whopping 8 tonnes, the SSLV focuses on agility.
  • Key benefits of SSLV: SSLV have Low cost, with low turn-around time, flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, Launch on demand feasibility, minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc.

oThe maiden flight of the SSLV in August last year was a failure due to vibration disturbance

oThe SSLV injected the ISRO's EOS-07 satellite, US-based firm Antaris' Janus-1 and Chennai-based space start-up Space Kidz's AzaadiSAT-2 satellites into a 450-km circular orbit.

  • Global Competitor: Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the SSLV’s biggest rival.