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ISRO vehicles

by Jean-Jacques Serra
listing by Gunter Krebs

Indian founded its space agency ISRO in 1969 and then a Ministry of Space in 1972. The next step was to decide to build a national space launcher.

SLV 3 (Satellite Launch Vehicle) and ASLV (Advanced SLV)


SLV 3 was a 4-stage solid-fuel light launcher (polybutadiene). It was 17.8 tons and 22.7 m high with a 1 m diameter max. Its payload mass in circular 500 km orbit was around 40 kg.

The first stage was 9 m high; it delivered 420 kN t (sea level) thrust during 53 seconds. The second stage (80 cm diameter) operated during 42 seconds and provided 200 kN thrust. The third stage (same diameter as stage 2) was fired for 46 seconds and delivered over 60 kN thrust. The 4th stage (65 cm diameter) was fired for 30 seconds and provided about 22 kN thrust. Two ballistic phases occured during the flight: one after second stage shutdown (until 88 km altitude) and after third stage shutdown (to reach perigee altitude).

Rockets were launched from the Sriharikota base on the Indian East coast. This site is operational since the success of a RH-125 sounding rocket in October 1971. After a first attempt which failed in August 1979 the SLV 3 rocket orbited 3 little Rohini scientific satellites in July 1980, Mai 1981 and April 1983. Then the launcher was abandonned for the ASLV.

ASLV was dirived from SLV 3 by the addition of two boosters which dimensions and performances were similar to those of the first stage. Those boosters provided the takeoff of the vehicle by providing each 440 kN thrust during 49 seconds. This caused the first stage to be modified to operate in the air. ASLV was 24 m high and its capacity reached 150 kg payload in LEO (40 km).

The first two launches were failures in March 1987 and July 1988. Then ASLV orbited two SROSS satellites in May 1992 and May 1994.

Noticeable is the fact the the first stage of the SLV 3 was used from 1989 on as first stage of the experimental Agni IRBM (2500 km range). This is perhaps a unique example of transfert of a civilian stage to a military application.

PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)


PSLV is a 4-stage launcher measuring 44 m high for 2.8 m diameter max, weighing 275 tons.It can orbit around 1 ton payload in sun-synchronous polar orbit.

The first stage is 20 m high and weighs 129 tons. It is powered by a solid fuel motor (HTPB: Hydroxyl-Terminated PolyButadiene) which burns during 100 seconds and provides 3500 kN thrust at sea level (4600 kN in vacuum). It is supported by 6 boosters --switched on by group of two then four-- derived from the SLV 3 and ASLV first stage. Each of those deliver 440 kN thrust at sea level (660 kN in vacuum). The second stage is 11 m high for 2.8 m diameter and weighs 38 tons. Its Vikas motor --built under French SEP licence-- consumes liquid propellant (nitrogen tetraoxide and UDMH: Unsymmetrical DiMethylHydrazine). It provides 725 kN thrust during 150 seconds. The third stage is 3.5 m high and 2 m diameter; it weighs 7 tons. Its solid fuel motor (HTPB) provides 340 kN thrust. The fourth stage protected by a bulb cap is 2.6 m long by 1.34 m diameter. It is propulsed by 2 ergols motors (peroxyde d'azote and MMH: MonoMethylHydrazine) of 7.5 kN thrust each which burn during about 7 minutes.

The first launch failed in Sep 1993 because of a software problem in the guidance system. The second launch in Oct 1994 orbited IRS P2. The next flights are scheduled every 12 to 18 months for the IRS remote sensing satellites.

GSLV (GeoStationary Launch Vehicle)


Derivates from the PSLV: uses the solid first stage and and the storable propellant second stage from it. It has 4 new liquid strapons derived from the second stage. The third stage was provided by Russia, it uses liquid hydrogen.

The second stage is 12.5 m high for 2.1 m diameter and weighs 45.6 tons. Its motors consumes liquid propellant (nitrogen tetraoxide and UDMH: Unsymmetrical DiMethylHydrazine).
The third stage is 3.6 m high and 2.8 m diameter; it weighs 43 tons. Its usesthe same fuel as the second stage.

SLV 3 launches


# Launch id Payload Launch date Type Status (orbit in perigee x apogee x inc. x period)
1 n/a Rohini 1A 10 Aug 1979 SLV 3 Failure
2 80062 Rohini 1B 18 Jul 1980 SLV 3  
3 81051 Rohini 2 31 May 1981 SLV 3 Partial failure
4 83033 Rohini 3 17 Apr 1983 SLV 3  

Notes: All launches from Sriharikota

ASLV launches


# Launch id Payload Launch date Type Status (orbit in perigee x apogee x inc. x period)
1, D1 n/a Sross 1 24 Mar 1987 ASLV Failure
2, D2 n/a Sross 2 12 Jul 1988 ASLV Failure
3, D3 92028 Sross 3 20 May 1992 ASLV Partial failure
4, D4 94027 Sross C2 4 May 1994 at 00:00 UT ASLV  

Notes: All launches from Sriharikota

PSLV launches


# Launch id Payload Launch date Type Status (orbit in perigee x apogee x inc. x period)
1, D1 n/a IRS 1E 20 Sep 1993 at 00:12 UT 1 Failure: computer error
2, D2 94068 IRS P2 15 Oct 1994 at 05:07 UT 1  
3, D3 96017 IRS P3 21 Mar 1996 at 04:53 UT 1  
4, C1 97057 IRS 1D 29 Sep 1997 at 04:47 UT 2 Partial failure: 822 x 306 km (not circular)
5, C2 99029 A: Kitsat 3
B: Tubsat C
C: IRS P4
26 May 1999 at 06:22 UT 2  
6, C3 01049 A: TES
B: Proba 1
C: Bird
22 Oct 2001 at 04:53 UT 2  
7, C4 02043 Metsat 12 Sep 2002 at 10:27 UT 3 GTO: 250 x 36000 km
The liquid propellant capacity of the fourth stage has been increased from 2 to 2.5 tons
8, C5 03046 IRS P6 17 Oct 2003 at 04:52 UT 3  
9, C6 05017 A: IRS P5
B: Hamsat
05 May 2005 at 04:44 UT 3 632 x 621 km x 97.8°
Heaviest payload: over 1600 kg
First use of the second launch pad
10, C7 07001 A: Lapan-Tubsat
B: IRS 2A
C: SRE 1
D: Pehuensat 1
10 Jan 2007 at 03:53 UT 3  
11, C8 07013 A: Agile
B: AVM or IAM (measuring instrument attached to the 4th stage)
23 Apr 2007 at 10:00 UT CA Equatorial orbit.
Without the 6 strap-on boosters.
12, C10 08002 Techsar 21 Jan 2008 at 03:45 UT or 05:29 UT CA 469 x 585 km x 41.0°
13, C9 08021 A: IRS 2B
B: CanX 6
C: CanX 2
D: IMS 1
E: Compass 1
F: AAUsat 2
G: Delfi C3
J: Seeds 2
K: Rubin 8 on PSLV R/B
L: Cute 1.7 II
28 Apr 2008 at 03:53 UT CA  
14, C11 08052 Chandrayaan 1 (moon probe) 22 Oct 2008 at 00:52 UT XL 255 x 22,860 km x 17.9°
Had larger strap-on motors (PSOM-XL).
15, C12 09019 A: Risat 2
B: Anusat
20 Apr 2009 at 01:15 UT CA  
16, C14 09051 A: IRS P7 (Oceansat 2)
B: SwissCube
C: Beesat 1
D: Uwe 2
E: Itu-psat 1
F: Rubin 9.1+9.2
23 Sep 2009 at 06:21 UT CA  
17; C15 10035 A: IRS 2C
B: Studsat
C: Aissat 1
D: Alsat 2A
E: Tisat 1
12 Jul 2010 at 03:52 UT CA  
18, C16 11015 A: IRS 2D
B: Youthsat
C: X-sat
20 Apr 2011 at 04:42 UT 3 808 x 815 km x 98.7°
19, C17 11034 A: Gsat 12 15 Jul 2011 at 11:21 UT XL  
20, C18 11058 A: Megha-Tropiques
B: Jugnu
C: Vesselsat 1
D: SRMsat
12 Oct 2011 at 05:30 UT CA 867 km x 20°
21, C19 12017 Risat 1 26 Apr 2012 at 00:17 UT XL  
22, C21 12047 A: Spot 6
B: Proiteres
+ mResins (attached to 4th stage)
9 Sep 2012 at 04:23 UT CA  
23, C20 13009 A: Saral
B: AAUsat 3
C: Sapphire Canada
D: Neossat
E: Strand 1
F: CanX 3B
G: CanX 3A
25 Feb 2013 at 12:31 UT CA total payload mass: 668.5 kg
24, C22 13034 Irnss 1A 1 Jul 2013 at 18:11 UT XL  
25, C25 13060 Mars Orbiter Mangalyaan 5 Nov 2013 at 09:08 UT XL  
26, C24 14017 Irnss 1B 4 Apr 2014 at 11:44 UT XL  

Notes: All launches from Sriharikota (2100 km southeast of New Dehli)

GSLV launches


# Launch id Payload Launch date Type Status (orbit in perigee x apogee x inc. x period)
1, D1 01015 Gsat 1 18 Apr 2001 at 10:13 UT GSLV Partial failure: 166 x 31977 km x 19.3°
2, D2 03018 Gsat 2 8 May 2003 at 11:38 UT GSLV 180 x 36000 km x 19.2°
3, D3 04036 Gsat 3 20 Sep 2004 at 10:31 UT GSLV 180 x 35985 km x 19.2°
4, D4 n/a Insat 4C 10 Jul 2006 at 12:08 UT GSLV Failure: had to be destroyed as it went off course; a strap-on booster regulator failed
5 07037 Insat 4CR 2 Sep 2007 at 12:50 UT GSLV underperformance of the vehicle: 168 x 34710 km x 20.7°
6, D3 n/a Gsat 4 15 Apr 2010 at 10:57 UT GSLV Mk II Failure: 3rd stage failure (faulty turbo pump)
7 n/a Insat 4D / Gsat 5 25 Dec 2010 at 10:34 UT GSLV Mk I (3) Failure: 1st stage control failure 47s into the flight due to a cable snap, caused by a russian-made cylindrical cover failure.
8, D5 14001 Gsat 14 5 Jan 2014 at 10:48 UT GSLV 175 x 35945 km x 19.3°

Notes: All launches from Sriharikota

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