India’s first privately built satellite to be launched on November 19

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket will take off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, on a rideshare mission, launching more than 70 satellites from 16 countries into a sun-synchronous polar orbit. The payload will include India’s first privately owned satellite built by a start-up based in Mumbai which is meant to serve the amateur radio (HAM) community of the country during natural calamities.  The mission, named the SSO-A, will be SpaceX’s largest mission so far in terms of the number of satellites launched. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) currently holds the record for launching 103 satellites in a single mission. It is scheduled for take off at 6.32 pm (Greenwich Mean Time) on November 19, or 12.02 am Indian time on November 20.  A team of ten engineers, led by Mr Ashhar Farhan, co-founder of Exseedspace Pvt Ltd, at a lab in Hyderabad have constructed a 1U cube-sized (mini) communication satellite which will be launched by SpaceX. Speaking to TNIE, Mr Kris Nair, CEO, and founder of Exseedspace, set up in 2017, said, “This satellite will serve the ham or the amateur radio community. As a result, it will be of great help during natural calamities, when conventional communication services get disrupted.” Talking about the building of the satellite, Mr Nair said, “Our ten member team of engineers led by Mr Farhan has built the satellite which aims to democratise space exploration for commercial, government and academic customers of all sizes and help them leverage the advances in space technology to achieve business, community and governance goals.” The satellite will be on a polar orbit for five years after the launch and will perform 5-6 passes over India every day. With this satellite, the public will be able to receive signals on 145.90 Mhz frequency with the help of a TV tuner and USB dongle. The mission will launch more than 70 spacecraft from 50 different organizations including 15 microsats and 56 cubesats, making it the largest single rideshare mission to date from a US-based launch vehicle. The mission includes payloads from 18 countries including India, United States, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, South Africa, and Brazil. Meanwhile, the company is in talks with ISRO and other space agencies to develop more such satellites and provide commercially viable satellites.


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