The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing small satellite launch vehicles to launch low-cost small satellites.
Preliminary work to design and develop such ambitious small launch vehicle already has started at ISRO’s rocket development node, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). The small launch vehicle will be able to put satellites of up to 500-600 kg in orbits close to the Earth. VSSC has designed the vehicle using the rocket technology.
Small satellite launch vehicles have tremendous potential to cut the launch fee that customers pay. Ride on small launchers is ninth or tenth of the present cost. Besides, they are easy to assemble compared to about 40 days taken to assemble a PSLV.
Since 1999, ISRO’s PSLV rockets have launched 209 small satellites from 28 countries for fee. In February 2017, PSLV created world record by launching 104 satellites to space. Globally, the small satellites market is booming as they are used for various applications. As such, worldwide, operators and private players are developing small launchers to capture the market at a much lower cost
Global space industry consulting firm Euroconsult in July 2017 had estimated that 6,200 smallsats — many of them will be launched during 2017-2026 and its market value will touch to $30 billion — up from $8.9 billion in last decade.