Next Generation Launch Vehicle
FunctionMedium to Heavy-lift launch vehicle
Country of originIndia
Height75 m (246 ft)
Width5 m (16 ft)
Mass600 t (590 long tons; 660 short tons) to 700 t (690 long tons; 770 short tons)
Payload to LEO
Mass17,000 to 48,000 kg (37,000 to 106,000 lb)[1]
Payload to GTO
Mass8,500 to 24,000 kg (18,700 to 52,900 lb)[1]
Payload to TLI
Mass7,000 to 22,500 kg (15,400 to 49,600 lb)[1]
Associated rockets
Launch history
StatusUnder Development
Launch sitesSatish Dhawan Space Centre
Total launches0

The Next Generation Launch Vehicle or NGLV (previously referred to as Unified Launch Vehicle or ULV) is a three-stage partially reusable rocket, currently under development by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This vehicle is designed to replace currently operational systems like PSLV, GSLV and LVM3.[1][2]

This family of three launchers was previously being designed for replacing the different core propulsion modules of PSLV, GSLV, and LVM3 respectively with a common semi-cryogenic engine and hence it was named as Unified Launch Vehicle (ULV).[3] Unlike the latest proposal of the launcher, the initial proposals were planned to be expendable. But the new proposals under the name of Next Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) suggests launchers having partial reusability.[4]

According to ISRO Chairman S. Somanath, the new rocket has a load capacity of between 20 and 1,215 tonnes.[5]


The launch system has been in development since 2010s and has gone through various design changes with time. As ISRO's SLVs were ageing, the need for a new generation of launchers with interchangeable modular parts was realised. There have been several design changes since the first proposal.

Initial proposals

More than a decade after starting the Cryogenic Upper Stage Project in 1994,[6] ISRO began developing a new semi-cryogenic engine that would be used on its next generation of vehicles of Unified Launch Vehicle (now NGLV), Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) and a heavy-lift launcher for future inter-planetary missions. On 22 December 2008, the government approved the development of semi-cryogenic engine technology at an estimated cost of 1,798 crore (US$215 million), with a foreign exchange component of 588 crore (US$70 million), for the completion of the project by 2014, the engine was then named SCE-200.[7]

In May 2013, the configurations of the launchers were revealed for the first time. They had a common core and upper stage, with four different booster sizes.[8] The core, known as the SC160 (Semi-Cryogenic stage with 160 tonnes of propellant, in the ISRO nomenclature), would have 160,000 kg (350,000 lb) of Kerosene / LOX propellant and be powered by a single SCE-200 engine. The upper stage, known as the C30 (Cryogenic stage with 30 tonnes of propellant) would have 30,000 kg (66,000 lb) of LH2 / LOX propellant and be powered by a single CE-20 engine.[9][10]

The four booster options were:

ULVs' initial proposals with LVM3 for comparison.

Heavy-lift variant

A potential heavy-lift variant (HLV) of the ULV, in theory was capable of placing up to 10 ton class of spacecraft into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. It was planned to include:[11]

Super-heavy-lift variant

A super-heavy-lift variant, was also among the proposals. With multiple SCE-200 engines and side boosters, this variant would have been the most powerful rocket that ISRO had ever developed.[10]

Latest modifications and partial reusability

The SCE-200 engine.
SCE-200 Power Head Test Article (PHTA) going through its first hot test at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu

The development of the SCE-200 engine was completed in 2017 and the tests were contracted to a Ukrainian manufacturer Yuzhmash. In September 2021, in a virtual event being conducted by ISRO, the presentation mentioned a fleet configuration of a family of five rockets capable of lifting from 4.9 tonnes to 16 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The presentation mentioned the ongoing development of a new semi-cryogenic stage namely SC120 and an upgraded cryogenic stage namely C32. The configurations displayed more powerful engine stages; SC-400 semi-cryogenic stage, C27 cryogenic stage, and S-250 solid rocket boosters.[12]

In June 2023, ISRO revealed that the team working on the NGLV programme had already submitted a preliminary report on the rocket's details, manufacturing process, and approach toward development. The rocket is planned to be partially reusable along with its boosters. The development was expected to take another five to ten years.[13]

Following several months of preliminary planning and design and architectural refinement, ISRO has established a project team to begin construction of the NGLV. The third launch pad at Sriharikota will be required because the NGLV project, internally named "SOORYA," will differ from the current class of rockets in configuration. This was confirmed by ISRO chairman S. Somanath in an exclusive interview with The Times of India. Project Director S Sivakumar will oversee the NGLV project. He is currently the program director (space transportation systems) at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). The development of NGLV will involve teams with backgrounds in LVM-3, GSLV, PSLV, and SSLV.[14]


NGLV will feature a simple, robust design that allows bulk manufacturing, modularity in systems, sub-systems, and stages, and minimal turnaround time.[15]

The NGLV might turn out to be a three-stage rocket powered by green fuel combinations, like Kerosene and liquid oxygen or methane and liquid oxygen for the SCE-200 engine, which follows oxidizer-rich closed combustion engine cycle. The first launch of the rocket is tentatively scheduled for 2030.[16][17]

Potential uses

As per a presentation done by S. Somanath at a conference in October 2022, the NGLV might offer launch costs of approximately $1900 per kg of payload in the reusable form and nearly $3000 per kg in the expendable format. The vehicle will also help in meeting India's need of setting up its space station by 2035. Other potential use cases will be in the areas of launching communication satellites, deep space missions, future human spaceflight, and cargo missions.[16][17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "ISRO's Next-Gen Launch Vehicle may assume PSLV's role". The Hindu. 13 October 2022. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  2. ^ "ISRO developing new rocket to replace PSLV". The New Indian Express. 15 October 2022. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  3. ^ Srs (2 January 2013). "Antariksh: ISRO Unified Launch vehicle". Antariksh. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  4. ^ Livemint (30 October 2022). "ISRO eyes reusable rocket to carry heavier payloads into the orbit. Read here". mint. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  5. ^ "ISRO to launch India's first space station by 2028, says chief S Somnath". Moneycontrol. 23 December 2023. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  6. ^ "How ISRO developed the indigenous cryogenic engine". The Economic Times.
  7. ^ "India to build semi-cryogenic engine for future missions | Brahmand News". Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  8. ^ "ISRO Unified Launch Vehicle Update". Antariksh Space. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  9. ^ Brügge, Norbert. "ULV (LMV3-SC)". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  10. ^ a b "LVM3, ULV, HLV & SHLV, Versions". Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  11. ^ ""Indigenous Development of Materials for Space Programme" By Dr A. S. Kiran Kumar Presentation Slides". Indian Institute Of Science 21 August 2015.
  12. ^ Siddarth MP (14 September 2021). "ISRO's new series of heavy-lift rockets to carry between 5-16 tonnes to GTO". WION. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  13. ^ "ISRO readies plan for next generation launch vehicle". The Hindu. 8 June 2023. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  14. ^ "SOORYA: Project team for rocket to build space station ready; 3rd launch pad at Sriharikota to come up". The Times of India. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 14 March 2024.
  15. ^ "ISRO eyes next-generation launch vehicle for heavier payloads". 30 October 2022. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  16. ^ a b Sarkar, Snehadri (31 October 2022). "ISRO Setting Up Next-Generation Launch Vehicle For Heavier Payloads By 2030: Here's All You Need To Know About It". Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  17. ^ a b Khan, Hadi (2 November 2022). "ISRO Is Building A Next-Generation Launch Vehicle For Heavier Payloads, Which Will Launch By 2030". Mashable India. Retrieved 3 August 2023.