ISRO brings back 3-tonne rocket body into Earth’s atmosphere

The LVM3-M3 rocket body was disposed of through natural orbital decay within two years of the orbital injection.
ISRO brings back 3-tonne rocket body into Earth’s atmosphere

BENGALURU: In commitment to India’s Debris Free Space Missions (DFSM) initiative which requires space objects operating in the Low Earth Orbital region to return to Earth within five years, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully completed the re-entry of a 3-tonne rocket body. The cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M3/ or OneWeb-2 India Mission which injected 36 OneWeb satellites on March 26, 2023, was left in an orbit of 450 km altitude.

“The upper stage was passivated by depleting excess fuel as per the standard practice to minimise any potential risk for an accidental break-up.

The re-entry was estimated to occur within a window from 14:35 UTC to 15:05 UTC, the most probable impact being at 14:55 UTC in the Indian Ocean,” read a statement from ISRO.

According to scientists, only certain elements like gas bottles, nozzles, and tanks which comprise material of very high melting points were expected to survive the aerothermal heating during the re-entry for this rocket body.

The upper stage was tracked by the Multi-object Tracking Radar (MOTR) of ISRO at Sriharikota over the orbits before the atmospheric re-entry, and the tracking data was utilised in the re-entry prediction process. It was continuously monitored by ISRO’s facility, ISRO System for Safe and Sustainable Space Operations Management (IS4OM), ISTRAC at Bengaluru. The LVM3-M3 rocket body was disposed of through natural orbital decay within two years of the orbital injection. Therefore, it complied with international guidelines such as the UN space debris mitigation guidelines.

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