PSLV-C44 to lift-off with added features

• With the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) planning to keep the fourth and final stage of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) ‘alive’ in space as a useful ‘orbital platform’.

• The rocket popularly dubbed ISRO’s trusted workhorse — is getting added features.

Key features

• Set for lift-off this month with the Microsat-R payload, the upcoming PSLV-C44 mission will see a new variant of the PSLV in use.

• This variant, tagged PSLV-DL, will be the first to sport two strap-on boosters for providing added thrust.

• Its final and fourth stage PS4 will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries, but no solar panels.

• An in-house technology, the lithium-ion cells are critical to keep the spent stage in orbit.

• Solar panels will be added, in all likelihood, in the next mission.

• ISRO had hit upon the idea of transforming the expendable fourth stage into a makeshift satellite to reduce space debris.

• In a normal scenario, the initial stages of the rocket, once they detach, drop back into the sea. However, stage four, after releasing the payload, wanders around in space as junk.

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