Highlights:
• Jitendra Singh said that the first developmental flight of Isro’s SSLV is scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2021 from Sriharikota’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre
• A launch vehicle is inducted by ISRO into its operational fleet after two successful development flights
• Singh added that the earth observation satellite EOS-3, also known as GISAT-1, is likely to be launched in the current quarter

Jitendra Singh, Union minister for state for the department of space, on Thursday through a written reply in Rajya Sabha said that the first developmental flight of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) is scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2021 from Sriharikota’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

The flight has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A launch vehicle is inducted by ISRO into its operational fleet after two successful development flights.

Singh said that the major technologies developed as part of the realization of SSLV are flexible nozzle control with electromechanical actuators for all stages, miniaturized avionics, and a velocity trimming module in the upper stage for precise satellite injection.

A senior at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Ajay Lele, said that for the commercial launches like the maiden flight of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, many customers have already booked slots for their satellites but if the missions keep on getting delayed, they might move towards other launch providers.

Singh also said the earth observation satellite EOS-3 also known as GISAT-1 is likely to be launched in the current quarter, which would restart the country’s space activities after a break of four months. EOS-3 will provide near real-time imaging of the Indian subcontinent that can be used to monitor natural disasters, agriculture, forestry, mineralogy among others. It will be able to provide an image of the Indian landmass every 30 minutes with a spatial resolution of 50 meters.

Singh also said the Space Activities Bill, which seeks to ensure licensed entities carry out operations in a manner that prevents the contamination of outer space or damage to the earth’s environment, is under consideration. The bill provides for imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of over ₹1 crore if any activity is undertaken without prior licensing, and any intellectual property right developed onboard a space object in outer space will be the property of the Central government.

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