India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will deploy a military reconnaissance satellite and carry out a technology demonstration mission Thursday, flying in a new configuration and testing its upper stage as an experimental satellite platform. PSLV will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 23:37 local time (18:37 UTC).
Thursday’s launch, the forty-sixth overall for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), marks the maiden flight of the rocket’s new PSLV-DL configuration. Filling a gap in payload capacity between two of the rocket’s existing configuration, the PSLV-DL will help reduce the cost of India’s access to space. Its first payload consists of a demonstration satellite built around the rocket’s upper stage, testing this concept for future applications, and a military spacecraft with an imaging payload.
The PSLV that will perform Thursday’s launch is vehicle number C44. PSLV was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and first flew in September 1993. It was the third rocket that ISRO developed to launch satellites, following on from the earlier Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) and Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV). The four-stage rocket uses a mixture of solid and liquid-fuelled propulsion.
The name Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle reflects that the rocket was ...