Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

Infobox Rocket
name = Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

caption = PSLV-C8 (CA Variant) carrying the "AGILE" x-ray and γ-ray astronomical satellite of the ASI lifting off from Sriharikota
function = Expendable launch vehicle
manufacturer = ISRO
country-origin = IND
height = 44 m
diameter = 2.8 m
mass = 294,000 kg
stages = 4
LEO-payload =3,250 kg
SSO-payload =1,450 kg
alt-LEO =
status = Active
sites = Sriharikota
launches = 13
success = 11
partial = 1
fail = 1
first=20 September, 1993
boosters = 6
boosterengines = 1 solid
boosterthrust = 502.600 kN
boosterSI = 262 sec
boostertime = 44 seconds
boosterfuel = HTPB (solid)
stage1engines = 1 solid
stage1thrust = 4,860 kN
stage1time = 105 seconds
stage1SI = 269sec
stage1fuel = HTPB (solid)
stage2engines = 1 Vikas
stage2thrust = 725 kN
stage2SI = 293 sec
stage2time = 158 seconds
stage2fuel = N2O4/UDMH
stage3engines = 1 solid
stage3thrust = 328 kN
stage3SI = 294 sec
stage3time = 83 seconds
stage3fuel = Solid
stage4engines = 2 liquid
stage4thrust = 14 kN
stage4SI = 308 sec
stage4time = 425 seconds
stage4fuel = MMH/UDMH

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (usually known by its abbreviation, PSLV) is an expendable launch system operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun synchronous orbits, a service that was, until the advent of the PSLV, commercially viable only from Russia. PSLV can also launch small size satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).

In september 2008 Indian scientists developed a path-breaking technology that has the potential to increase the range of missiles and satellite launch vehicles by at least 40%.The enhanced range is made possible by adding a special-purpose coating of chromium metal to the blunt nose cone of missiles and launch vehicles. This would add-up on the stated range.


The PSLV has four stages using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately. The first stage is one of the largest solid-fuel rocket boosters in the world and carries 138 metric tonnes of Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) binded propellant with a diameter of 2.8 m. The motor case is made of maraging steel. The booster develops a maximum thrust of about 4,430 kN. Six strap-on motors, four of which are ignited on the ground, augment the first stage thrust. Each of these solid propellant strap-on motors carries nine metric tonne of HTPB propellant and produces 677 kN thrust. Pitch and yaw control of the PSLV during the thrust phase of the solid motor is achieved by injection of an aqueous solution of strontium perchlorate in the nozzle to constitute Secondary Injection Thrust Vector Control System (SITVC). The injection is stored in two cylindrical aluminum tanks strapped to the solid rocket motor and pressurized with nitrogen. SITVC in two strap-on motors is for roll control augmentation.

The second stage employs the Vikas engine and carries 41.5 metric tonne (40 metric tonne till C-5 mission) of liquid propellantndash Unsymmetrical Di-Methyl Hydrazine (UDMH) as fuel and Nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) as oxidizer. It generates a maximum thrust of 800 kN (724 till C-5 mission). Pitch & yaw control is obtained by hydraulically gimbaled engine (±4°) and two hot gas reaction control for roll.

The third stage uses 7 metric tonne of HTPB-based solid propellant and produces a maximum thrust of 324 kN. It has a Kevlar-polyamide fiber case and a submerged nozzle equipped with a flex-bearing-seal gimbaled nozzle (±2°) thrust-vector engine for pitch & yaw control. For roll control it uses the RCS (Reaction Control System) of fourth stage.

The fourth and the terminal stage of PSLV has a twin engine configuration using liquid propellant. With a propellant loading of 2 metric tonne (Mono-Methyl Hydrazine as fuel + Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen as oxidiser), each of these engines generates a maximum thrust of 7.4 kN. Engine is gimbaled (±3°) for pitch, yaw & roll control and for control during the coast phase uses on-off RCS. PSLV-C4 used a new lightweight carbon composite payload adapter to enable a greater GTO payload capability.

The polar satellite was launched on February 24th.




The standard version of the PSLV has four stages using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately and six strap-on boosters. It currently has capability to launch 1,600 kg to 622 km sun synchronous orbit.


The PSLV-CA, with CA meaning "Core Alone", uses the core stages without any strap-on boosters. It currently has capability to launch 1,100 kg to 622 km sun synchronous orbit. [cite web |url=http://www.isro.org/rep2006/Space%20Transportation.htm |title=ISRO Annual Report 2006 - Space Transportation |publisher=ISRO]

Under development / Proposed

; PSLV-XLOn 29 December, 2005, ISRO successfully tested an improved version of the strap-on booster for the PSLV. It will be used for future PSLV flights, including the launches of Chandrayaan-1 and the RISAT Radar Imaging Satellite. [cite web |url=http://www.isro.org/newsletters/spaceindia/oct2005mar2006/Newsolid.htm |title=New Solid Propellant Motor to Increase PSLV Capability |publisher=ISRO] . The payload capability for this variant will be 1800 kg compared to 1600 kg for the current onecite web |url=http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEO20070425013957&Page=O&Title=Thiruvananthapuram&Topic=0& |title=PSLV to get new versions |publisher=The New Indian Express daily] .; PSLV-HPAs reported on the website of The New Indian Express newspaper (April 26, 2007), PSLV project director N Narayanamoorthy spoke of another version being planned called the PSLV-HP, standing for ‘high performance.’ It will have strap-ons motors, but the payload capability will be raised to 2000 kg. The HP version will be used to launch a constellation of seven navigation satellites between 2010 and 2012. Among other things, the efficiency of the stage 4 engine will be improved in this version.

; Three-stage PSLVISRO is also considering the development of a three-stage version of the rocket (with the second stage of the four-stage version removed) which will be capable of placing 500 kg to LEO. [cite web |url=http://www.isro.org/rep2007/Space%20Transporation.htm |title=ISRO Annual Report 2007 - Space Transportation |publisher=ISRO] [cite web |url=http://www.isro.org/rep2006/Space%20Transportation.htm |title=ISRO Annual Report 2006 - Space Transportation |publisher=ISRO]


After some delays, the PSLV had its first launch on 20 September 1993. Although all main engines performed as expected, an altitude control problem was reported in the second and third stages. After this initial setback, ISRO met complete success with the third developmental launch in 1996. Further successful launches followed in 1997, 1999, and 2001.

In September 2002, the 1060 kg KALPANA-1 was launched by PSLV-C4 into GTO. On 17 October 2003, the 1360 kg Earth observing ResourceSat1 was launched by PSLV-C5.

On May 5, 2005, PSLV-C6 launched two satellites into orbit; CARTOSAT-I a stereoscopic Earth observation satellite with cartographic applications, weighing 1560 kg, and HAMSAT providing satellite based radio service for amateur radio operators, weighing 42.5 kg into a high polar orbit (632 x 621 km).

PSLV will continue be the work horse of the ISRO for its launches, especially for LEO satellites and the Chandrayaan Projects. It has undergone several improvements with each subsequent version, especially those involving thrust, efficiency and weight.

On January 10, 2007, the PSLV-C7 carried four satellites - the 680 kg Indian remote sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2, the 550 kg Space Capsule Recovery Equipment (SRE-1), Indonesia's LAPAN-TUBSAT (60kg) and Argentina's 6 kg nanosatellite called NANO PEHUENSAT-1 into orbit. [ [http://www.ibnlive.com/news/pslvc7-successfully-lifts-off/top/30805-11.html PSLV-C7 successfully lifts off] ]

On April 23, 2007, the PSLV-C8 carried its first commercial satellite, the Agile for the Italian Space Agency as main payload with the Advanced Avionics Module as its secondary payload Successfully [ [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Commerical_launch_of_PSLV-C8_successful/articleshow/1943794.cms First commercial launch of PSLV-C8 successful-India-The Times of India ] ] . This was ISRO's first purely commercial launch. All launches of foreign satellites before this had been of micro-satellites or light weight satellites piggybacked on the PSLV, with an Indian satellite being the primary payload. The PSLV-C8 was also launched without its regular 6 strap-on boosters. Another first for ISRO was the inclination of 2.5o (equatorial orbit) [ [http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/NEWS/newsrf.php?newsid=8568 :: Bharat-Rakshak.com - Indian Military News Headlines :: ] ] [ [http://www.outlookindia.com/pti_news.asp?gid=89 outlookindia.com | wired ] ] , which made launch comparatively riskier than usual.

On 21 January 2008, PSLV-C10 launched the Israeli TecSAR satellite. Launch is reported to have been successful. [ [http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080039084&ch=1/21/2008%2012:33:00%20PM NDTV - ISRO Launches Israeli Satellite] ]

On 28 April 2008, PSLV-C9 launched ten satellites, the most number ISRO has deployed in one launch. PSLV-C9 placed on orbit an imaging satellite Cartosat-2A India, technology demonstrator IMS-1/TWSAT, and a cluster of eight nanosatellites from different countries. The launch is reported a success. [ [http://www.zeenews.com/articles.asp?aid=439440&sid=NAT ZeeNewsndash India creates space history, places ten satellites in one go] ]

Launch log


* * means Second Launch Pad.


External links

* [http://www.indiaabroad.com/video/player.php?url=http://video.tv18online.com/cnnibn/flvstore/01_2007/pslv_launch_pcr.flv PSLV-C7 launch Video]
* [http://www.isro.org/pslv.htm ISRO PSLV page]
* [http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/SPACE/space-launchers-pslv.html Bharat-Rakshak PSLV page]
* [http://www.geocities.com/hari_ghk/pslv.htm India in Space PSLV page]
* [http://www.isro.org/pslv-c8/photo/index.htm PSLV-C8 Mission Photo Gallery]

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