ISRO Missions and Discoveries

ISRO launches 36 satellites through its heaviest rocket LVM3


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : LVM3 (GSLV MK3), PSLV

Mains level : Satellite program of Indi


The ISRO’s heaviest rocket, Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3 or GSLV Mark 3) has successfully put into orbit 36 satellites of the U.K.-based OneWeb.

Also in news

  • The ISRO has renamed the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark -III as Launch Vehicle Mark-III, mainly to identify its task of placing satellites into a variety of orbits.

What is LVM3?

  • LVM3 (erstwhile GSLV) is an expendable space launch vehicle designed, developed, and operated by the ISRO to launch satellites and other space objects into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits.
  • It is 49.13 m tall and tallest among all other vehicles of ISRO.
  • It is a three-stage vehicle with a lift-off mass of 420 tonnes.
  • ISRO first launched LVM3 on April 18, 2001 and has made 13 launches since then.

Stages in LVM3

  • The first stage comprises S139 solid booster with 138-tonne propellant and four liquid strap-on motors, with 40-tonne propellant.
  • The second stage is a liquid engine carrying 40-tonne of liquid propellant.
  • The third stage is the indigenously built Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) carrying 15-tonne of cryogenic propellants.

Difference between PSLV and LVM3

  • LVM3 has the capability to put a heavier payload in the orbit than the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
  • PSLV can carry satellites up to a total weight of 2000 kg into space and reach up to an altitude of 600-900 km.
  • LVM3 can carry weight up to 5,000 kg and reach up to 36,000 km.
  • PSLV is designed mainly to deliver earth observation or remote sensing satellites, whereas, LVM3 has been designed for launching communication satellites.
  • LVM3 delivers satellites into a higher elliptical orbit, Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO).

Upgrades brought by LVM3

  • The LVM3 is capable of lifting much heavier satellites than the GSLV Mk II with a bigger cryogenic upper stage and a larger first stage.
  • Both GSLV Mk II and LVM3 are three-stage vehicles, while the PSLV, which launches to low earth polar orbits, is a four-stage vehicle.
  • The GSLV Mk-II can place up to 2,500kg in geosynchronous orbits and up to 5,000kg to low earth orbit.
  • By comparison, the LVM3 can lift 4,000kg to GTO and up to 8,000 kg to LEO.


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