Model of the PSLV rocket
Mission typeDeployment of three satellites.
WebsiteISRO website
Mission duration1,658 seconds
Apogee586.7 kilometres (365 mi)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftPolar Satellite Launch Vehicle
Spacecraft typeExpendable launch vehicle
Launch mass294,000 kilograms (648,000 lb)
Payload mass1,294 kilograms (2,853 lb)
Dimensions44.4 metres (146 ft)
(overall height)
Start of mission
Launch date10:23:00, October 22, 2001 (IST) (2001-10-22T10:23:00IST) (IST)
RocketPolar Satellite Launch Vehicle
Launch siteSriharikota Launching Range
End of mission
DisposalPlaced in graveyard orbit
DeactivatedOctober 22, 2001 (2001-10-22)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSun-synchronous
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Mass1,294 kilograms (2,853 lb)

PSLV-C3 was the third operational launch and overall sixth mission of the PSLV program. This launch was also the forty-sixth launch by Indian Space Research Organisation since its first mission on 1 January 1962. The vehicle carried three satellites which were deployed in the Sun-synchronous Low Earth orbit.[1][2] The vehicle carried Technology Experiment Satellite (Indian experimental earth observation satellite), BIRD (German earth observation satellite) and PROBA (experimental satellite from Belgium). This was India's and ISRO's second commercial spaceflight. PSLV-C3 was launched at 10:23 a.m. IST on 22 October 2001 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (then called "Sriharikota Range").[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Mission highlights

The mission involved placing Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) and Bispectral and Infrared Remote Detection (BIRD) in a 568 km circular orbit. It would then place the PRoject for On Board Autonomy (PROBA) satellite in an 568 km x 638 km elliptical orbit. This demonstrated ISRO capability to launch multiple satellites in multiple orbits. It also earned ISRO $1 million for each satellite.[1][2][9]

Mission parameters



PSLV-C3 carried and deployed total three satellites. Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) was the main payload and BIRD and PROBA were two auxiliary payloads that were mounted on PSLV-C3. In the flight sequence, TES was injected first, followed by BIRD and then PROBA.[1][2]

Country Name Nos Mass Type Objective
India India TES 1 1,108 kg Satellite Experimental Earth observation satellite
Belgium Belgium BIRD 1 94 kg Microsatellite Remote sensing technology demonstration
Germany Germany PROBA 1 92 kg Microsatellite Earth observation technology demonstration

Launch & planned flight profile

Heat shield of PSLV displayed at HAL heritage center.

PSLV-C3 was launched at 10:23 a.m. IST on 22 October 2001 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (then called "Sriharikota Launching Range"). The mission was planned with pre-flight prediction of covering overall distance of 586.668 kilometres (365 mi). The total flight time was 1658 seconds as PROBA was to be launched into an elliptical orbit after TES and BIRD were launched into a circular orbit.[9] The orbit raise was done using the yaw RCS thrusters in off-modulated mode.[11]

Following was the planned flight profile.[1][2][3][5][6][7][8]

Stage Time
Event Remarks
First stage T+0 0.02 452 First stage ignition Lift-off
T+1.24 Ignition of 4 ground-lit strap-on motors
T+25.04 2.515 551 Ignition of 2 air-lit strap-on motors
T+68.04 23.472 1,155 Separation of 4 ground-lit strap-on motors
T+90.04 40.061 1,644 Separation of 2 air-lit strap-on motors
T+112.73 67.601 2,028 First stage separation
Second stage T+112.93 67.828 2,027 Second stage ignition
T+156.73 115.604 2,284 Heat shield separation
T+278.81 236.272 4,099 Second stage separation
Third stage T+280.01 237.433 4,097 Third stage ignition
T+498.33 455.487 6,086 Third stage separation
Fourth stage T+520.60 460.818 6,065 Fourth stage ignition
T+914.92 571.247 7,575 Fourth stage thrust cut-off
T+971.92 572.080 TES separation
T+1,011.92 572.709 BIRD separation
T+1,091.92 574.064 PROBA orbit raise start
T+1,552.50 585.018 7,593 PROBA orbit raise stop
T+1,602.50 586.688 7,592 PROBA orbit separation Mission over

Fourth Stage Break-up event

The fourth stage of the PSLV had undergone a break-up event on 19 December 2001, likely caused by an explosion.[12] After the explosion of PSLV-C3, ISRO carried out passivation of the upper stages of the PSLV, from the PSLV-C4 mission onwards.[13] As per ISRO, this event generated 386 debris objects, of which 76 are still in orbit, as on 2021.[14][15]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "PSLV-C3". Indian Space Research Organisation. Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e "PSLV-C3 brochure" (PDF). Indian Space Research Organisation. Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  3. ^ a b "PSLV-C3 Successfully Launched : Puts Three Satellites In Orbit". Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  4. ^ "ISRO's timeline. 1960s to today. #46". Indian Space Research Organisation. Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  5. ^ a b "SPACEWARN Activities". NASA. Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Space Launch Report: PSLV". Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  7. ^ a b "PSLV-C3 Successfully Launched : Puts 3 Satellites In Orbit". Press Information Bureau. Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  8. ^ a b "PSLV-C3 launches three satellites". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  9. ^ a b SUBRAMANIAN, T. S. "An ISRO landmark". Frontline. Retrieved 2022-03-25.
  10. ^ "PSLV details". Indian Space Research Organisation. Retrieved 10 Jul 2016.
  11. ^ "PSLV-C4". Retrieved 2022-03-26.
  12. ^ Bandyopadhyay, Parthasarathi; Sharma, Radhey; Adimurthy, V. (October 2002). Analysis of the possible cause of break up of PSLV-C3/PS4 stage. 34th COSPAR Scientific Assembly. Houston, Texas: The Second World Space Congress. p. 1374. Bibcode:2002cosp...34E1374B.
  13. ^ Kosambe, Santosh (2019). "Overview of the Space Debris Mitigation Activities in ISRO". Journal of Aircraft and Space Technology. 3: 199–200 – via ResearchGate.
  14. ^ Chethan Kumar (Mar 25, 2022). "In 2021, 135 launches put 1.8k objects in space, 102 launches put 522 objects in 2020; Isro flags off debris concern | India News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2022-03-26.
  15. ^ "Space Situational Assessment 2021 - ISRO". Retrieved 2022-03-26.