UPSC Courses

DNA banner


  • 11 August, 2022

  • 11 Min Read

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)

  • The Earth observation satellite EOS-02 and a student satellite called AzaadiSAT were carried on the inaugural flight of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) that the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) recently launched.
  • However, because the satellites were already separated from the launch vehicle, the mission failed to deploy them in the necessary orbits.

Image Source - Iasgyaan

What is a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle?

  • A three-stage launch vehicle called the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) is designed with three solid propulsion stages and a terminal stage called the Velocity Trimming Module (VTM) that uses liquid propulsion.
  • The SSLV has a 2 m diameter, is 34 m long, and weighs about 120 tonnes when it lifts off.
  • From Satish Dhawan Space Center, SSLV is capable of launching 500kg satellites into 500km-planar orbit (SDSC).

Key Features:

  • Low cost,
  • The low turn-around time,
  • Flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites,
  • Launch demand feasibility,
  • Minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc


  • A small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) designed by ISRO allows for the "launch-on-demand" launch of satellites weighing up to 500 kg into low Earth orbit.
  • Mini, Micro, or Nanosatellites (10 to 500 kg mass) can be launched by SSLV into a 500 km planar orbit.


The Age of Small Satellites:

  • Previously, larger satellite payloads were prioritized, but as the industry evolved, a variety of stakeholders, including businesses, governments, colleges, and laboratories, started launching satellites. They are all primarily classified as tiny satellites.

The Rise in Demand:

  • Over the past eight to ten years, there has been a sharp rise in the demand for small satellite launches as a result of the expanding demand for space-based data, communication, surveillance, and commerce.
  • Saves money: Satellite producers and operators do not have the luxury of booking months in advance or incurring astronomical travel costs.
  • As a result, organizations are building satellite constellations in orbit.
  • One Web and SpaceX's Starlink are two initiatives building a constellation of several satellites.


  • Since the majority of the demand comes from businesses launching satellites for commercial purposes, there is now a business opportunity for space organizations like ISRO to capitalize on the sector's potential due to the rise in demand for rocket launches.

What was the Issue?

  • The velocity trimming module (VTM), the SSLV's terminal stage, seemed to be the source of the issue.
  • At 653 seconds after launch, the VTM was scheduled to have burned for 20 seconds in accordance with the launch profile.
  • It only burned for 0.1 seconds though, depriving the rocket of the necessary height boost.
  • After the VTM burnt, the two satellites disengaged from the vehicle. A sensor fault caused the satellites to be placed in an elliptical orbit as opposed to a circular orbit.
  • According to ISRO, both satellites were successfully injected, and all steps ran smoothly. However, the orbit obtained was less than anticipated, making it unstable.

What is the SSLV-D1/EOS-02 Mission?

  • With the ability to launch satellites into Low Earth Orbit, it was designed to capture a larger share of the market for small launch vehicles.
  • The rocket was transporting the two satellites.
  • The primary EOS-2 Earth-observing spacecraft, called EOS-02, was created and launched by ISRO.
  • Advanced optical remote sensing with the great spatial resolution is available on this Microsat class satellite.
  • The second student satellite for AzaadiSAT is an 8U Cubesat that weighs about 8 kg.
  • It conducts Femto experiments and carries 75 distinct payloads, each weighing about 50 grams.
  • It carried out minute tests that would have determined the amount of ionizing radiation in its orbit, as well as a transponder that operated on the ham radio frequency to make it accessible to amateur users.
  • These payloads were constructed with assistance from female students from remote areas of the nation.
  • Does the "Space Kidz India" student team integrate the payloads?

What is the Difference between Circular and Elliptical Orbits?

Elliptical Orbits:

  • Typically, spacecraft and satellites are placed in elliptical orbits only briefly.
  • Then, either they are propelled higher into circular orbits or the acceleration is increased until the trajectory shifts from an ellipse to a hyperbola, allowing the spaceship to escape the gravity of the Earth and travel farther into space, such as to the Moon or Mars, or farther still.

Circular Orbits:

  • satellites that circle the Earth are typically put into circular orbits.
  • One argument is that it is simpler if the satellite has a set distance from the Earth if it is used to image the planet.
  • Keeping the cameras focused can be challenging if the distance is constantly shifting, as it would be in an elliptical orbit.

Also, Read - Novel Langya Henipavirus

Source: The Economic Times

Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana

Recently, Prime Minister announced Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana under which 1 crore households will get rooftop solar power systems. India’s Status of Current Solar Capacity India currently stands at 4th place globally in solar power capacity. As per Ministry of New an

Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)- NGO 

The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) registration of two prominent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) — Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and World Vision India (WVI) have been cancelled this month. What is FCRA? Key provisions of FCRA, 2010 Key aspects Description

Voice clone-AI

Voice clone fraud has been on the rise in India. AI voice cloning – It is the process of creating a synthetic replica of a person’s voice through machine learning and speech synthesis technology.It is called as voice deepfakesor audio deepfakes. Objective – To achieve a high level of na

Science communication- how to promote

Steps taken by India to promote Science Communication Publications and Information Directorate (PID) - An organisation under Council of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) established in 1951 for publishing and disseminating scientific information in India. National science magazines- The PI

Universal Basic Income (UBI)- Analysis

Universal Basic Income (UBI) can strengthen welfare architecture and unlock the nation’s latent demographic potential. UBI - It is an income support mechanism typically intended to reach all or a very large portion of the population regardless of their earnings or employment status. Objective- To provide enough to co


Search By Date

Newsletter Subscription
SMS Alerts

Important Links