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PSLV C56 Mission, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), New Space India Ltd (NSIL)

PSLV C56 Mission

  • Context (TH | LM ): During PSLV C56 mission, ISRO’s PSLV successfully placed seven Singaporean satellites into intended orbits.

Significance of PSLV C56 Mission

  • PSLV C56 mission is the second commercial mission of ISRO’s NSIL.
  • The mission is designed to mitigate the space debris problem.
  • Normally, after a successful mission, a rocket stays in orbit for “decades” as space debris, before re-entering into Earth’s atmosphere.
  • But in this mission after placing customer satellites at an altitude of 536 km, the rocket will be lowered into a 300 km high orbit.
  • Due to the orbit-lowering, the duration of space debris generated from this mission in space will be reduced to two months.
  • Space debris (space junk or orbital debris) refers to non-functional, defunct, or abandoned objects of human space activities orbiting the Earth. They are potentially hazardous for the orbiting satellites.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)

  • PSLV is an indigenous expendable launch system developed in the 1990s by ISRO.
  • It is called the workhorse of ISRO because it has the highest number of successful launches.
  • Expendable launch system: It is used only once to carry a payload into space. E.g. PSLV, GSLV, etc.
ISRO Launch Vehicles PSLV GSLV
ISRO Launch Vehicles PSLV GSLV

Orbits in which PSLV Places Satellites

Polar and Near Polar (e.g. sun-synchronous orbit) Lower Earth Orbits
Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits
  • Initially PSLV was developed to place satellites only on Low Earth Orbits. But, in the last decade, PSLV was successful in sending several satellites also toward geosynchronous transfer orbits.
  • E.g. Chandrayaan-1 (India’s first lunar probe) and Mars Orbiter Mission or Mangalyaan (India’s first interplanetary mission).

Stages of PSLV

  • PSLV is a four stage launch vehicle.
    • First stage and third stage are solid-fuelled stages.
    • Second stage and fourth stage are liquid-fuelled stages.
    • The second stage engine, Vikas, is a derivative of France’s Viking engine.

New Space India Ltd (NSIL)

  • New Space India Ltd (NSIL) is a Public Sector Enterprise (under the Companies Act, 2013).
  • It is under the administrative control of the Department of Space.
  • It is the commercial wing of the ISRO.
  • Objective: to commercially exploit the Research and Development work of the ISRO.

Space Business Activities of NSIL

  • Owning satellites for Earth Observation and Communication applications.
  • Building satellites and launching them as per demand.
  • Providing launch services for satellite belonging to customer.
  • Building launch vehicles through Indian Industry and Launch as per satellite customer requirement.
  • Space-based services related to Earth Observation and Communication on a commercial basis.
  • Satellite building through Indian Industry
  • Technology Transfer to Indian Industry
  • Marketing spin-off (commercial) technologies and products/services emanating out of ISRO.
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