India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is proving to be hugely versatile. The launcher has successfully carried many satellites and ejected them with precision into their designated orbits. Since its first successful launch in 1994, the rocket has gone from strength to strength.
The PSLV has not carried only Indian Remote Sensing Satellites, but also small satellites of foreign customers. Recently, the highly dependable rocket have placed Chandrayaan -I, India’s first lunar probe, on the first leg of its voyage to the Moon. In its very successful flight, it carried a satellite weighing about 800 kg.
But, since then, scientists and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organization have steadly developed the launchers capabilities. Today the rocket can carry a payload that is more than thrice as heavy.
The availability of this launcher has been a crucial factor for space programmes. Because, this launcher ISRO is being able to set up a large constellation of earth- observation satellites.
These satellites produce data that serve various practical purposes from better crop acreage estimation for providing inputs for disaster relief.
The recent launch saw the role of PSLV in putting into orbit two more remote sensing satellites, Cartosats – 2A and the Indian Mini Satellite -I, ISRO have ambitious plans to expand the number and range of its earth viewing satellites in space and those satellites too will no doubt go up on the PSLV. Although, the PSLV rocket has earned am enviable reputation.
But, India is still a relatively small player in commercial market dominated by launched vehicles like Europe’s Ariane 5 that can carry heavy communication satellites. However, the PSLV has proved to be terrific asset, but Indian launched vehicles have quite to transport before they can take on the best in the world.