Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is in the process of developing a smaller space launch vehicle that can be assembled in three days when compared to a regular-size PSLV which takes about 30 to 40 days. The manufacturing cost of the smaller launch vehicle is said to be one-tenth the original manufacturing cost of a PSLV, which ranges between Rs 150 crore to Rs 500 crore across the world. “ISRO is busy developing a small launch vehicle which is likely to be ready for launch probably by 2018-end or early-2019. The cost of this vehicle will get drastically reduced by one-tenth of the manufacturing cost of a normal PSLV. However, this rocket will have the total payload capacity of 500 to 700 kg and can launch satellites only up to the polar sun-synchronous orbit or near-earth orbit (500-700 km in altitude),” K Sivan, director of Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), on the sidelines of an international seminar on ‘Indian Space Programme’ told TOI.
In terms of the advantages, Dr. K Sivan said, “The amount of money used in building a normal-size PSLV rocket can actually be used to manufacture multiple numbers of such mini-PSLVs, which, in turn, can launch several satellites. So, ISRO will be able to launch several satellites in less money.” Like a normal PSLV, he said, “Such small vehicles will too be capable of launching multiple nano satellites.”