By assessing the challenges facing the industrialisation and marketing of the PSLV, we can get a clearer picture of what India needs to do become a bigger commercial operator than it currently is.
A PSLV rocket at the first launchpad at SHAR, ahead of its C35 mission in September 2016. Credit: ISRO
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India’s vehicle of choice for getting to space for the last two decades has undoubtedly been the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Barring a recent, and arguably minor, failure during its C39 mission (the payload fairings did not deploy), the PSLV has an enviable record of flying 39 successful missions in 24 years.
Given a recent and increasing demand for launches to low-Earth orbit (LEO) – from within the country as well as from foreign satellite-makers, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has taken a proactive step to produce the PSLV at an industrial scale.
Additionally, as a buildup to some interesting demands by the small-satellites community, among others, the PSLV team has demonstrated the vehicle’s ability to switch ...