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Launch Vehicles

After successfully testing the first indigenous launch vehicle SLV-3 in 1980, ISRO built the next generation Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV). ISRO’s Launch Vehicle Programme had a giant leap with the successful launch of IRS-P2 spacecraft onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in October 1994. On 18 April 2001, India successfully launched its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). Technology development for advanced launch vehicles made good progress with the breakthrough achieved during the year in Supersonic Combustion Ramjet (SCRAMJET) to be employed in Air-Breathing engine. This is an important element in the launch vehicle technology development. Concepts for reusable launch vehicle are also being studied.

Polor Satellite Launch Vehicle

The four stage PSLV is capable of launching upto 1,600 kg satellites into an 620 km polar orbit. It has provision to launch payloads from 100 kg micro-satellites or mini or small satellites in different combinations. It can also launch one-ton class payloads into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). So far, it has performed nine missions with eight consecutive successes. The latest launch of PSLV (PSLV-C6) was on 5 May 2005 during which the vehicle precisely placed the 1560 kg CARTOSAT-1 and the 42 kg HAMSAT into a 620 km high polar SSO.

Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle

The GSLV was successful on its very first test flight. After its successful second flight on 8 May 2003, it was commissioned. This was followed by the success of its third flight on 20 September 2004. The GSLV is capable of launching 2,000 kg class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The development of Indigenous cryogenic stage to be used as the third stage of GSLV made further progress during the year. The cryogenic engine which forms part of this stage, has already been successfully qualified. GSLV-Mk III, a new version of GSLV and capable of launching spacecraft weighing upto 4 tonnes to GTO is under development.

Launch Infrastructure

An elaborate launch infrastructure exists at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (External website that opens in a new window) (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota Island on the East Coast of India which is about 100 km from Chennai. Sriharikota is located at 13° North latitude. From here, satellites can be launched into a variety of orbital inclinations starting from 18° and extending upto 99°. Full-fledged facilities for satellite integration, assembly and launch exist there. Sriharikota also houses a Telemetry, Tracking and Command network for tracking satellites and monitoring them. The newly built Second Launch Pad at SDSC SHAR as a redundancy to the existing launch pad, and to cater to the requirement of GSLV-Mk III as well as other future launch vehicles, was commissioned on 5 May 2005 with the successful launch of PSLV-C6.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 09-02-2011