SSLV stages have successfully undergone necessary ground tests

The Indian Space & Research Organisation on Monday successfully conducted the ground testing of the newly developed solid booster stage (SS1) for its new Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). The test was conducted at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

The test was conducted at 12:05 pm when the booster was fired up. ISRO said that the successful testing has given it sufficient confidence to proceed with the first developmental flight of SSLV (SSLV-D1).

The remaining stages of SSLV (SS2 & SS3) have successfully undergone necessary ground tests and are ready for integration. The testing comes on the heels of ISRO hinting that it will conduct the maiden launch of the new vehicles this year.

The SSLV will provide a payload capability of 500 kilograms to a 500-kilometer planar orbit. By comparison, the PSLV — the workhorse of ISRO — can take up to a 1,750-kilogram payload into SSO of 600 km altitude. It is to be noted that the government has sanctioned Rs 169 crores for the development of the project. This will cover the development & qualification of the vehicle systems and the flight demonstration through three development flights (SSLV-D1, SSLV-D2 & SSLV-D3).

"The development of SSLV has been primarily envisaged to build a cost-effective launch vehicle with high launch frequency and quick turnaround capability in order to cater to the growing opportunity in the global launch services market for small satellites," the Ministry of Science & Technology had said in a statement earlier.

Several sources in ISRO have said that SSLV-D1 is targeted to be launched towards the end of March or early April. However, there is no official confirmation on the date so far.