The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) passed a significant milestone with the successful launch of the LVM3 M2/OneWeb India-1 mission on Sunday. The LVM3 rocket carried a payload of about 6 tons into low earth orbit. This is the largest payload put into space by an ISRO mission to date. The success of the flight not only confirmed that ISRO’s most advanced rocket, his LVM3 rocket, is viable for long-awaited missions like Gaganyaan, but it also has a serious impact on the mass satellite launch market. Strengthened his ISRO claim as a player.
Few countries can launch satellites weighing more than 2 tons. Until recently, even ISRO used the service of Ariane rockets from Europe to launch heavy satellites. The LVM3 rocket, formerly known as the GSLV Mk-III, will end that dependency and will also be the vehicle for more ambitious parts of India’s space program (crew missions, moon landings and space exploration) in the near future.
India currently has three operational rockets. It is Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV and comes in several versions. Geostationary satellite rocket or GSLV Mk-II. Rocket Mark-3 or LVM3.
The PSLV is the most widely deployed, having completed 53 successful missions since 1993. His only failed PSLV flight is two.
In addition, ISRO is working on the development of Reusable Rocket Vehicles (RLV). Unlike other rockets, RLVs do not end up in space as debris. Instead, it can be brought back and refurbished for multiple uses.
India currently has three operational rockets. It is Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV and comes in several versions. Geostationary satellite rocket or GSLV Mk-II. Rocket Mark-3 or LVM3. heavy missile
GSLV-MkII missiles have been used in 14 missions, four of which have failed, most recently last August. I have flown the LVM3 five times, including the Chandrayaan 2 mission, and it has never disappointed.
LVM3 is the culmination of over 30 years of effort to create rockets that can carry heavier payloads and reach deeper into space. These requirements not only lead to a significant increase in rocket size, but also require changes in the engines and fuel types used.
Rockets are very inefficient means of transportation compared to vehicles operating on land or water. Passengers (or payload) make up only 2-4% of the rocket’s weight. 80-90% of the launch weight of a space mission is fuel or propellant. This is due to the uniqueness of space travel, which involves defying massive gravity.
For example, the LMV3 rocket has a launch mass of 640 tons, but can carry only 8 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), about 200 km above the Earth’s surface. A more distant geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) – at a distance of about 35,000 km from Earth – can carry much less, only about 4 tons. However, the LMV3 is not particularly weak compared to missiles used by other countries and space companies for similar tasks.
The Ariane 5 rocket, previously widely used by ISRO for heavy payloads, has a launch mass of 780 tons and can carry 20 tons of payload to low earth orbit and 10 tons to his GTO. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, said to be the most powerful new rocket, weighs over 1,400 tons at launch and can carry a payload weighing only about 60 tons. The PSLV is the most widely deployed, having completed 53 successful missions since 1993. His only two failed PSLV flights.
Rocket size is determined by the target in space the rocket is aimed at, the type of fuel used (solid, liquid, cryogenic, mixed), and the size of the payload. Choosing two of these variables severely limits the flexibility of the third. This is a predicament commonly referred to in the space community as “the tyranny of the rocket equation.” Not surprisingly, most of the rocket’s energy is expended on its journey to low Earth orbit. Gravity is strong here. Further travel into space is much smoother and requires much less energy. In fact, it takes half as much energy for a rocket to travel from LEO to the Moon (a trip of about 4 million km) as from Earth to LEO (about 200 km). For this reason, it is often said that the giant leap for mankind was not to set foot on the moon, but to reach LEO.
For space missions to the Moon, Mars, or other celestial bodies, the target’s gravity also comes into the equation. Achieving such a goal takes more energy than simply reaching space orbit to deploy a satellite.
The efficiency of the fuel used is another constraint on rocket flight. Several chemicals are used as rocket propellants. They provide different propulsion. Most modern rockets use multiple sets of propellants to power different stages of flight and optimize results. For example, the LMV3’s booster contains solid fuel to provide additional thrust during the liftoff, liquid phase, and cryogenic phases. Innovative Engineering
With aspirations of establishing a permanent facility on the Moon and sending people to Mars and beyond, rockets would need to transport an increasing amount of cargo into space. However, rockets have a very limited capacity. To achieve the goals of next missions, two different engineering advances can be used. Multiple journeys can be made by the rockets, each carrying pieces of larger structures that can be put together in space. The International Space Station and several similar structures were constructed in this manner.
The other is the potential for using on-site resources on the Moon and Mars. In fact, all next Moon missions are focused on investigating this possibility.
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