Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV is an expendable launch system developed and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Assembling a normal-sized PSLV takes about 30-40 days, but as per a report by The Times of India, ISRO is developing a small launch vehicle that can be assembled in just three days. The cost of this launch vehicle will also be one-tenth of that of a normal PSLV. The manufacturing cost of one can be anywhere between ₹150 crore to ₹500.
This new launch vehicle will be ready by the end of next year or early 2019. Dr K Sivan, director of Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), told TOI that this rocket will have the “total payload capacity of 500 to 700 kg and can launch satellites only up to the polar sun-synchronous orbit or near-earth orbit (500-700 km in altitude).”
A normal sized launch vehicle weighs 300 tonnes, but this one will weight only 100 tonnes.
ISRO has been trying to reduce the cost of access to space, which is why they’ve come up with the small launch vehicle. This way, the ISRO will be able to launch several satellites using very little money.
The space agency along with several companies is also planning on a space rocket which will be entirely built by the private industry. The ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar told TOI, “The target for such a (fully privately built) launch vehicle is 2020-21. ISRO will be part of the JV. Work is in progress to put the mechanism in place.”