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The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India has embarked on an ambitious journey to develop a cutting-edge modular small satellite launch vehicle, codenamed “Veda,” specifically designed for rapid integration into the launcher. This project, recently approved in principle by the Ministry of Defense (MOD), is a significant stride in India’s space endeavors, aiming to enhance its capabilities in deploying defense satellites for a range of critical applications, including surveillance, communication, and navigation.

The Veda small satellite launch vehicle is envisioned as a three-stage, solid-propellant rocket capable of carrying payloads weighing between 150 to 650 kilograms to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) from mobile launch platforms. This state-of-the-art SLV will be a game-changer in India’s defense landscape, providing the armed forces with an independent and flexible means of deploying vital satellite assets to bolster their operational readiness and strategic intelligence.

One of the key factors contributing to the accelerated development of the Veda SLV is the utilization of existing technology and expertise from the K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) for its first stage. Leveraging the K-4 SLBM technology will not only expedite the development process but also lead to cost savings, ensuring that the SLV is reliable, efficient, and tailored to meet the specific requirements of the Indian armed forces.

The first stage of the Veda SLV will be powered by a solid-propellant rocket motor based on the K-4 SLBM, providing the initial thrust needed to lift the vehicle from the launch pad. The subsequent stages, the second and third, will also be equipped with existing DRDO solid-propellant rocket motors, ensuring consistent and reliable propulsion throughout the launch sequence.

A notable feature of the Veda SLV is its road-mobile nature, allowing for greater flexibility in launch locations. This mobility grants the Indian armed forces the advantage of choosing optimal launch sites based on mission requirements, enhancing operational agility and strategic response capabilities.

With a payload capacity of up to 2,000 kilograms and a maximum altitude of 200 kilometers, the Veda SLV promises to be a versatile and powerful asset in India’s defense satellite arsenal. It will enable the deployment of a wide array of defense satellites into lower orbits, facilitating real-time surveillance, seamless communication, and precise navigation for military operations.

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