The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is a space launch vehicle developed and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is primarily used to launch satellites into various orbits, including sun-synchronous orbits, geosynchronous transfer orbits, and low Earth orbits.
Here are some key points about the PSLV
- Development: The PSLV was first conceptualized in the early 1980s and had its inaugural launch in 1993. It was designed to meet the specific requirements of the Indian space program, including launching remote-sensing satellites and supporting India’s space research and exploration goals.
- Configuration: The PSLV has four stages, with the first and third stages using solid propellant, while the second and fourth stages use liquid propellant. Additionally, it can be augmented with strap-on boosters to increase its payload capacity.
- Variants: Over the years, ISRO has developed different variants of the PSLV to cater to various mission requirements. The main variants include the PSLV-Standard, PSLV-CA (Core Alone), PSLV-DL (Dual Launch), PSLV-XL (Extra Large), and PSLV-QL (Quick Launch). Each variant has specific configurations and capabilities.
- Payload Capacity: The PSLV can carry a wide range of payloads, including remote sensing satellites, navigation satellites, communication satellites, and small satellites from international customers. Its payload capacity varies depending on the specific variant and mission requirements but typically ranges from around 1,000 kilograms to 1,800 kilograms to different orbits.
- Significance: The PSLV has been instrumental in India’s space program and has achieved several significant milestones. It has successfully launched numerous satellites, including India’s first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1, and Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan). The PSLV has also played a crucial role in supporting India’s Earth observation capabilities and providing affordable access to space for smaller satellites.
- Launch Sites: The PSLV is primarily launched from two launch sites in India. The Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, is the primary launch site, while the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thumba, Kerala, is used for launching sounding rockets.
The PSLV has established itself as a reliable and cost-effective workhorse for India’s space missions, enabling scientific research, remote sensing, and technology demonstration. Its successful track record has positioned ISRO as a significant player in the global space industry.