PSLV-XL Configuration

PSLV-XL Configuration: The PSLV-XL (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle – Extra Large) is an advanced configuration of the PSLV, the third-generation launch vehicle of India. It has earned the title of “the Workhorse of ISRO” due to its remarkable performance and consistent delivery of various satellites into orbit. In this article, we will explore the PSLV-XL configuration, its technical specifications, and its significant achievements.

PSLV-XL Configuration

Overview of PSLV-XL and PSLV-XL Configuration

The PSLV-XL has a gross weight of 320 tonnes and an overall height of 44.4 meters. It has a diameter of 2.8 meters, making it a substantial launch vehicle. The PSLV-XL is a four-stage vehicle with the capability to launch multiple satellites and achieve multiple orbits.

Technical Specifications

The PSLV-XL’s specifications are as follows:

  • Height: 44 meters
  • Diameter: 2.8 meters
  • Number of Stages: 4
  • Lift-Off Mass: 320 tonnes (XL)
  • Variants: PSLV, CA, DL, QL, XL
  • First Flight: September 20, 1993

First Stage: PS1

The first stage of the PSLV-XL utilizes the S139 solid rocket motor, which is augmented by six solid strap-on boosters. The S139 engine is fueled by HTPB (Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene) and provides a maximum thrust of 4800 kN.

Second Stage: PS2

The PSLV-XL’s second stage employs the Vikas engine, a liquid rocket engine developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. The Vikas engine uses UDMH (Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine) and N2O4 (Nitrogen tetroxide) as fuel and oxidizer respectively. It provides a maximum thrust of 799 kN.

Third Stage: PS3

The third stage of the PSLV-XL is a solid rocket motor known as the S7. It utilizes HTPB as fuel and provides a maximum thrust of 240 kN. The third stage contributes to the high thrust required during the atmospheric phase of the launch.

Fourth Stage: PS4

The uppermost stage of the PSLV-XL is the PS4, which consists of two Earth storable liquid engines. These engines, known as PS-4, use a combination of MMH (Monomethylhydrazine) and MON (Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen) as fuel and oxidizer respectively. Each PS-4 engine provides a maximum thrust of 7.3 kN.

Strap-on Motors

The PSLV-XL utilizes solid rocket strap-on motors to augment the thrust provided by the first stage. The number of strap-on motors varies depending on the PSLV variant. The strap-on motors used in PSLV-XL have the designation S12 and are fueled by HTPB. Each strap-on motor delivers a maximum thrust of 719 kN.

Payload Capacity

The PSLV-XL has impressive payload capabilities. It can carry up to 1,750 kg of payload to Sun-Synchronous Polar Orbits (SSPO) at an altitude of 600 km. Additionally, it can transport up to 1,425 kg of payload to Sub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits (Sub GTO). This remarkable capacity has made the PSLV-XL a preferred choice for launching various satellites, including those from the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation.

Launch Vehicle Features

The PSLV-XL’s multiple satellite launch capability and multiple orbit capability are among its notable features. To accommodate multiple payloads, the launch vehicle utilizes multi-payload adaptors in its payload fairing. This flexibility allows for challenging missions where multi-orbit and multi-satellite deployments are required. The PSLV-XL’s consistent success and affordability have solidified its position as a reliable and versatile launcher in the global market.


The PSLV-XL has a remarkable track record and has achieved several notable milestones. It has played a crucial role in launching various Indian and foreign customer satellites. Two significant accomplishments include the successful launch of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in 2008 and the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft in 2013. Chandrayaan-1 successfully traveled to the Moon, while MOM embarked on a historic journey to Mars. These missions have further established the PSLV-XL’s reputation as a highly capable launch vehicle.


The PSLV-XL configuration, with its impressive technical specifications and achievements, showcases India’s prowess in space exploration. Its robust design, multiple satellite launch capability, and ability to reach various orbits make it a reliable and versatile workhorse for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). With each successful mission, the PSLV-XL continues to contribute to advancements in scientific research, communication, and Earth observation.

Also read I Chandrayaan 3.

Also see I  GSLVF12/ NVS01 Launch.

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