Think Learn & Perform (TLP)

The Only Dedicated Platform for UPSC Mains Answer Writing

Day 53 – Q 1.What is PSLV technology? Discuss. What has been the progress with respect to indigenisation of PSLV technology? Examine.

1. What is PSLV technology? Discuss. What has been the progress with respect to indigenisation of PSLV technology? Examine. 

पीएसएलवी तकनीक क्या है? चर्चा करें। पीएसएलवी प्रौद्योगिकी के स्वदेशीकरण के संबंध में क्या प्रगति हुई है? जांच करें।


Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was established in 1969. Since its beginning, ISRO has created a niche for itself in the space technology world through continuous low-cost innovations. Recently, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C48) marked its 50th launch by injecting India’s advanced radar imaging earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1.


PSLV earned its title ‘the Workhorse of ISRO’ through consistently delivering various satellites to Low Earth Orbits, particularly the IRS series of satellites.

PSLV Technology

  • Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle of India. 
  • It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
  • It is a four-staged launch vehicle with first and third stage using solid rocket motors and second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.
  • The PS4 is the uppermost stage of PSLV, comprising of two Earth storable liquid engines.
  • The third stage of PSLV is a solid rocket motor that provides the upper stages high thrust after the atmospheric phase of the launch.
  • PSLV uses an Earth storable liquid rocket engine for its second stage, know as the Vikas engine, developed by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.
  • PSLV uses the S139 solid rocket motor that is augmented by 6 solid strap-on boosters.
  • PSLV uses 6 solid rocket strap-on motors to augment the thrust provided by the first stage in its PSLV-G and PSLV-XL variants. However, strap-ons are not used in the core alone version (PSLV-CA).
  • Initially, PSLV had a carrying capacity of 850 kg but has been enhanced to 1.9 tonnes.
  • It comes in the category of medium-lift launchers with a reach up to various orbits, including the Geo Synchronous Transfer Orbit, Lower Earth Orbit, and Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.
  • All the operations of PSLV are controlled from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota.

Indigenisation of PSLV technology

India has made remarkable strides achieving 98 per cent indigenisation in launch vehicle technology and 60-70 per cent in satellite technology ISRO is making desperate attempts to indigenizing current space technology. It is developing its own rockets, cryogenic engines, navigation, spy and communication satellites. 

Some of Achievements are:

  • Chandrayaan-1 India’s first mission to the Moon was launched on 22 October 2008 using the indigenously developed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11) XL variant. The satellite made more than 3400 orbits around the Moon and the mission was concluded when the communication with the spacecraft was lost on 29 August 2009.
  • Mangalyaan MOM was launched aboard PSLV C-25, which was an XL variant of the PSLV, one of world’s most reliable launch vehicles. It is India’s first interplanetary mission and made ISRO the fourth space agency to reach Mars, It made India the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and the first nation in the world to do so in its maiden attempt. most of the systems were indigenous
  • India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirty ninth flight (PSLV-C37), launches the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 103 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 663 kg at lift-off into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). PSLV-C37 was launched from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.
  • PSLV-C43 lifted off on November 29, 2018 from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota and successfully launched India’s Hyper spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) and 30 international co-passenger satellites. PSLV-C43 is the Core Alone version of PSLV, without the six strap-ons.
  • The PSLV has helped take payloads into almost all the orbits in space including Geo-Stationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the Moon, Mars and would soon be launching a mission to the Sun.
  • It can take up to 1,750 kg of payload to Sun-Synchronous Polar Orbits of 600 km altitude.


The success of ISRO is testament to India’s capability in frugal engineering and finding solutions with severe resource constraints and international non-cooperation. Future missions like Chandrayaan-2, Aditya-L1, Gaganyaan etc. will help 

India enhance its global image even further.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email