The PSLV variant also launched India’s first missions to the moon and Mars. To initiate its Aditya-L1 mission on September 2, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will employ a modified version of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the same rocket that was instrumental in launching India’s inaugural missions to the moon and Mars.
In the upcoming PSLV-C57/Aditya-L1 mission, India’s maiden solar mission, the PSLV-XL variant will embark on its 25th mission.
The PSLV-XL represents the ‘full configuration’ of the PSLV, equipped with six additional strap-on motors, which is the maximum for this expendable launch vehicle. The XL setup was initially employed for launching India’s inaugural lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, back in October 2008. Since then, it has been utilized for several prestigious missions, including the Mars Orbiter Mission – Mangalyaan – launched in November 2013.
The PSLV last operated in the XL configuration in November 2022 when it placed the EOS-06 satellite, the primary payload, along with eight nano-satellites into Earth’s orbit.
Often referred to as ‘ISRO’s trusted workhorse,’ the four-stage PSLV has various versions featuring six (XL variant), four (QL), and two (DL) rocket strap-on motors to enhance the thrust provided by its first stage. These strap-ons are powered by the solid rocket propellant known as Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB). Additionally, there is the CA (core alone) version where no strap-on motors are used. The two previous PSLV missions, PSLV-C55 and PSLV-C56, which successfully deployed the TeLEOS-2 and DS-SAR satellites into orbit in April and July of this year respectively, utilized the CA variant.
The PSLV-C57/Aditya-L1 mission is set to take off from Sriharikota at 11.50 a.m. on Saturday. The Aditya-L1 spacecraft, equipped with seven scientific instruments for solar research, boasts a mass of 1,480.7 kg and represents India’s inaugural space-based observatory-class solar mission. Following a four-month journey covering a distance of 1.5 million km, it will be stationed in a halo orbit at Lagrangian point L1 to study the sun.