About the Launch Vehicle

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. After its first successful launch in October 1994, PSLV emerged as the reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle of India with 39 consecutively successful missions by June 2017. During 1994-2017 period, the vehicle has launched 48 Indian satellites and 209 satellites for customers from abroad.

Besides, the vehicle successfully launched two spacecraft – Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013 – that later traveled to Moon and Mars respectively

Vehicle Specifications

Height: 44 m
Diameter: 2.8 m
Number of Stages: 4
Lift Off Mass: 320 tonnes (XL)
Variants: 3 (PSLV-G, PSLV - CA, PSLV - XL)
First Flight: September 20, 1993
PSLV Launcher
The PSLV is capable of placing multiple payloads into orbit, thus multi-payload adaptors are used in the payload fairing. This allowed the feat of launching 10 satellites into different orbits in 2008. More recently, on June 30, 2014, PSLV-C23 launched SPOT-7, CAN-X4, CAN-X5, AISAT and VELOX-1 into their designated orbits successfully.
PS4 is the fourth and final stage of PSLV and it uses two liquid engines for propulsion. PS4 is responsible for the correct injection of PSLV's payloads into their respective desired orbits.
PS3 is the third and penultimate stage of PSLV, and it uses a solid rocket for propulsion.
PS2 is the second stage of PSLV and is powered by the Vikas liquid engine, developed in the early 90s.
PS1 is the first stage of PSLV and it provides the launcher the high thrust that is required for lift off. It uses the S139 solid rocket booster that contains 138 tonnes of HTPB.
While the PSLV-G uses 6 HTPB based solid strap-on motors of 9 tonnes each and PSLV-XL uses 6 extended strap-ons of 12 tonnes each, the PSLV-CA (core alone version) does not use any strap-on motors.


Payload to SSPO: 1,750 kg

PSLV earned its title 'the Workhorse of ISRO' through consistently delivering various satellites to Low Earth Orbits, particularly the IRS series of satellites. It can take up to 1,750 kg of payload to Sun-Synchronous Polar Orbits of 600 km altitude.

Payload to Sub GTO: 1,425 kg

Due to its unmatched reliability, PSLV has also been used to launch various satellites into Geosynchronous and Geostationary orbits, like satellites from the IRNSS constellation.

Fourth Stage: PS4

The PS4 is the uppermost stage of PSLV, comprising of two Earth storable liquid engines.

Engine: 2 x PS-4
Fuel: MMH + MON
Max. Thrust: 7.6 x 2 kN

Third Stage: PS3

The third stage of PSLV is a solid rocket motor that provides the upper stages high thrust after the atmospheric phase of the launch.

Fuel: HTPB
Max. Thrust: 240 kN

Second Stage: PS2

PSLV uses an Earth storable liquid rocket engine for its second stage, know as the Vikas engine, developed by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.

Engine: Vikas
Fuel: UDMH + N2O4
Max. Thrust: 799 kN

First Stage: PS1

PSLV uses the S139 solid rocket motor that is augmented by 6 solid strap-on boosters.

Engine: S139
Fuel: HTPB
Max. Thrust: 4800 kN

Strap-on Motors

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).

Fuel: HTPB
Max. Thrust: 719 kN