Spaceflight will get first crack at India’s next rocket

PSLV rocket
India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle will be smaller than its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, shown here on its launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center. (ISRO Photo)

Seattle-based Spaceflight says it’s purchased the first commercial launch of India’s next-generation Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, or SSLV, and has already committed all of the available payload space to a U.S.-based satellite constellation customer.

The deal, announced today in conjunction with the annual SmallSat conference in Logan, Utah, builds on Spaceflight’s existing relationship with the Indian Space Research Organization and India-based commercial ventures.

ISRO developed the SSLV with a payload capacity of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) to mid-inclination low Earth orbit, or LEO, and 300 kilograms (660 pounds) to sun-synchronous orbit. That’s more suited for launching small satellites than India’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV, which can put 1,100 to 1,600 kilograms (2,425 to 3,500 pounds) into sun-synchronous orbit and has served as a go-to rocket for Spaceflight.

The SSLV launch was purchased from New Space India Limited, or NSIL, and is due for liftoff from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center later this year.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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