NSIL schedules second commercial space mission for Singapore on 31 July

New Delhi: NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial space missions arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro), on Monday announced the second consecutive commercial space mission, scheduled to take-off aboard Isro’s trusted rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on 31 July. 

The mission, numbered PSLV-C56, will deploy one primary and six additional satellites as part of the mission’s entire payload.

The primary payload for the mission is the Singapore government’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA)’s DS-SAR satellite, which will be used by Singapore government agencies for satellite imaging applications.

The mission comes just over three months after the previous PSLV mission, dubbed PSLV-C55, which deployed two satellites from Singapore in orbit. The latter were Singapore’s ‘TeLEOS-2’ as the primary payload, and Lumelite-4 as secondary payload.

The six secondary payloads flying aboard the PSLV mission on 31 July include two technology demonstrator satellites Velox-Am and Scoob-II, an experimental satellite called Atmospheric Coupling and Dynamics Explorer (Arcade), private nanosatellite NuLIon, and two others—Galassia-2 and Orb-12 Strider.

The PSLV-C56 mission for Isro and NSIL comes after the central space agency launched its third moon mission, Chandrayaan-3, on 14 July. The mission will seek to land a rover and a landing module in the lunar south pole—making India the first country in the world to do so. So far, China remains the only nation to have succeeded in landing on the moon in its first attempt—India’s Chandrayaan-2 failed to land on the moon, four years ago.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission, however, is different from NSIL’s commercial missions using the PSLV satellite-launching rocket. The mission is a part of India’s efforts to capture a larger share of the commercial satellite launch market—a space that is largely ruled so far by the US, and prior to the Ukraine war, Russia.

In October last year, a report by industry body Indian Space Association (ISpA) and consultancy firm EY India projected India to become a $13 billion space economy by 2025, of which satellite launch services and applications would account for 36%—or over $4.5 billion.

NSIL is also developing the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) light rocket launcher, which is tipped to deploy small satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO). Key features of the launcher include quick turnaround times between missions, on-demand services, and not needing clients to wait for other satellites to share the ride with. SSLV has so far completed one successful demonstrator mission, and is expected to conduct regular commercial missions within the next three years, Mint reported on 6 March.

Alongside NSIL, private space startups are also tipped to contribute to India’s space goals.

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Updated: 24 Jul 2023, 05:32 PM IST


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