The Indian space agency is gearing up to test the solid-fuel motor of its small rocket under development, said a senior official.
The official also said the space agency is planning to fly the small rocket — Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) — before the end of this year itself with an Indian earth observation satellite.
The SSLV is being designed to have a carrying capacity of about 500kg targeting the small satellite launch market.
As a matter of fact, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is getting orders from foreign parties to launch small satellites.
The first static test of SSLV’s solid-fuel motor was unsuccessful as there were some issues with the engine’s nozzle.
An official had earlier told IANS that the second test will be with the engine that was kept for the rocket. A new first-stage engine for the rocket has to be built.
The other two stages/engines for the proposed SSLV have been tested earlier, an ISRO official had told IANS.
The 34 meters tall with a lift-off mass of 120 tons, the SSLV is a three-stage/engine rocket all powered by solid fuel.
Currently, the Indian space agency loads the small satellites as piggyback luggage to its bigger satellite launched with its rocket — Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
The ISRO at times also gets orders to launch bigger satellites for which it uses one of the PSLV variants.
India presently has three fully operational rockets — the four-stage/engine PSLV and its variants and two GSLV variants — GSLV-Mk II with a carrying capacity of 2.5 tonnes and GSLV-MkIII with a payload capacity of four-ton.
The GSLV is a three-stage/engine rocket. The core of the first stage is fired with solid fuel and the strap-on motors by liquid fuel. The second is the liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine developed indigenously.