Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Oct 12: India’s most successful rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Wednesday exceeded a half century of satellite launches when it slung four satellites into orbit.
The PSLV-C18 rocket blasted off the first launch pad here at 11.01 a.m. carrying the 1,000 kg Indo-French Megha-Tropiques satellite to study tropical weather. The rocket also carried three other small satellites together weighing 42.6 kg.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) inducted the PSLV rocket in 1993.
Since then and till Wednesday morning, the rocket had carried 49 satellites (23 Indian and 26 foreign). This figure has now risen to 53.
A major revenue earner for ISRO, the PSLV is a four-stage rocket alternatively powered by solid and liquid propellants. The first and third stages are fired by a solid propellant and the second and fourth stages by a liquid propellant.
ISRO has developed three PSLV variants. The first is the standard variant weighing around 290 tonnes with six strap-on motors measuring 11.3 metres with a fuel capacity of nine tonnes.
The other two variants are the PSLV Core Alone without the six strap-on motors and PSLV-XL with longer strap-on motors measuring 13.5 metres having a fuel capacity of 12 tonnes of solid fuel.