Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle

Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle

Infobox rocket
name = GSLV

imsize = 250
caption = Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle
function = Expendable launch vehicle
manufacturer = ISRO
country-origin = IND
height = 49 m
alt-height = 160 ft
diameter = 2.8 m
alt-diameter = 9.1 ft
mass = 402,000 kg
alt-mass = 886,000 lb
stages = 3
LEO-payload =5,000 kg
alt-LEO = 11,000 lb
payload-location = GTO
payload = 2,500 kg
alt-payload = 5,500 lb
status = Active
sites = Sriharikota
launches = 5
success = 3
partial = 1
fail = 1
first=18 April 2001
boosters = 4
boosterengines = 1 L40H Vikas 2
boosterthrust = 680 kN
boosterTT = 2,720 kN
boosterSI = 262 sec
boostertime = 160 seconds
boosterfuel = N2O4/UDMH
stage1engines = 1 S139
stage1thrust = 4,700 kN
stage1time = 100 seconds
stage1SI = 166 sec
stage1fuel = HTPB (solid)
stage2engines = 1 GS2 Vikas 4
stage2thrust = 720 kN
stage2SI = 295 sec
stage2time = 150 seconds
stage2fuel = N2O4/UDMH
stage3engines = 1 RD-56M
stage3thrust = 73.5 kN
stage3SI = 460 sec
stage3time = 720 seconds
stage3fuel = LOX/LH2

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (usually known by its abbreviation, GSLV) is an expendable launch system operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was developed to enable India to launch its INSAT-type satellites into geostationary orbit and to make India less dependent on foreign rockets.


The GSLV improved on the performance of the PSLV with the addition of liquid strap-on boosters and a cryogenic upper stage. It is a three-stage launch vehicle with the first stage being solid-propelled, the second liquid-propelled and the final stage being cryogenically propelled. The solid first and liquid second stages are carried over from the PSLV. Early GSLV launches used cryogenic upper stages supplied by Russia. India originally tried to buy the technology to build a cryogenic upper stage from Russia, but under pressure from the United States, that technology was not provided.Fact|date=October 2008 Therefore, ISRO has been working on developing a cryogenic upper stage for the past eleven years.

The GSLV can place approximately 5000 kg (11,000 lbm) into an easterly low Earth orbit. Using the Russian 12KRB upper stage, with KVD-1 cryogenic rocket engine, GSLV can place 2200 kg (4,850 lbm) into an 18 degree geostationary transfer orbit.

Liquid boosters

The GSLV uses four L40 liquid strap-on boosters derived from the L37.5 second stage, which are loaded with 40 tons of hypergolic propellants (UDMH & N2O4). The propellants are stored in tandem in two independent tanks 2.1 m diameter. The engine is pump-fed and generates 680 kN of thrust.

First stage

S139 stage is 2.8 m in diameter and is made of M250 grade maraging steel and it has a nominal propellant loading of 139 t.

econd stage

The second stage is 2.8 m in diameter and is loaded with 37.5 t of liquid propellants (UDMH & N2O4) in two compartments of an aluminium alloy stage tankage separated by a common bulk head. This is powered by Vikas engine, which is a pump-fed engine of 720 kN thrust.

Third stage

The third stage is 2.8 m in diameter and uses liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX) in two separate tanks of aluminium alloy interconnected by an inter-stage. Propellant loading is 12.5 t. ISRO plans to use its own cryogenic engine from the fifth planned GSLV flight. On November 15, 2007 the indigenously developed "Cryogenic Upper Stage" was tested for 720 seconds, its full flight duration. The test was conducted at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, ISRO's rocket engine test facility in Tamil Nadu. The testing qualified the flight stage for use on the next GSLV launch (GSLV-D3), scheduled to take place in 2008. [cite web |url= |title=Indigenous Cryogenic Stage Successfully Qualified |publisher=ISRO |date=November 15, 2007]



; GSLV Mk.I (a)

This variant had a 125 t (S-125) first stage and was capable of launching 1500kg into geostationary transfer orbit.

; GSLV Mk.I (b)

This variant had 139 t (S-139) first stage and improved fuel in the strap-on boosters & second stage. This variant can launch 1900kg into geostationary transfer orbit.


This variant uses an Indian cryogenic engine and is capable of launching 2500kg into geostationary transfer orbit.


The first two flights of the GSLV were developmental. The first, partially successful, flight was on 18 April 2001 which launched GSAT-1. The second, which was fully successful, was on 8 May 2003 launching the experimental communication satellite GSAT-2. The first operational flight (GSLV-F01) was the launch of the EDUSAT communications satellite on 20 September 2004.

The fourth flight (GSLV-F02) on 10 July 2006 was unsuccessful in launching the 2168 kg (4,780 lb) communications satellite INSAT-4C as both rocket and satellite were destroyed over the Bay of Bengal after the rocket's trajectory veered outside of permitted limits. [ [ press release about the failure] ] A defective propellant regulator of the fourth strap-on motor caused the INSAT-4C-carrying vehicle to crash a minute after lift-off from Sriharikota on the Andhra Pradesh coast on 10 July 2006. [ [ INSAT-4C crashed] ] The fifth flight of GSLV (GSLV-F04), carrying a replacement for INSAT-4C was successfully completed on 2 September 2007, carrying the INSAT-4CR satellite ( a payload of roughly 2160 kg carrying 12 "KU" band transponders capable of reaching across India) into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. [cite web |url= |title=INSAT-4CR successfully placed in orbit after a textbook launch |publisher=Zee News]

The five flights of GSLV so far have used Russian cryogenic engine for the last stage. The next flight scheduled some time in 2008 will use an indigenous cryogenic engine developed by ISRO.

Launch log

Comparable Rockets

*Ariane 3
*Delta II


*The GSLV-Mk III is the successor to this rocket, and is scheduled for launch around 2007-2008.
*The GSLV variant with a different cryogenic stage is technically known as the GSLV-II, hence the GSLV-III's name.
*A modified GSLV-Mk II is being considered for India's proposed manned mission in 2014. The GSLV-I/II has the capability to lift a 3-4 tonne Gemini-class capsule carrying two cosmonauts. [] [,00040005.htm]

External links

* [ ISRO GSLV Page]
* [ INDIA in Space - GSLV Page]
* [ 12KRB (KVD-1) upper stage at Khrunichev Space Center]


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