Launchers are used to transport satellites into their intended orbits in Space. Research on the development of systems and components for achieving satellite launch capability started, when Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) was established in 1965 on the Veli hills at Thiruvananthapuram. The first two decades witnessed substantial progress in various areas of Space technology and allied areas as in the field of solid and liquid propellants, propulsion, materials, rocket hardware development and fabrication, and guidance, control & electronics development. Though with a limited payload capability, India could achieve self reliance in launch capability with the successful flight of the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV3) in 1980 carrying a landmark camera system into a near-Earth orbit. Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) were at that time in the design stage. ASLV proved the technical worth of ISRO in its third flight.
The period 1982-93 witnessed of development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). This overlaps with the period of development of ASLV. The first developmental flight of PSLV, attempted in 1994, could not succeed. The second developmental flight of PSLV turned successful in October 1994. Since then PSLV has completed twenty eight successful flights in a row. PSLV was declared operational in 1997. With this, ISRO could dispense the procured launches for the Remote Sensing satellites. In this journey, PSLV has proved itself to be a versatile and reliable vehicle for diverse missions.
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) employing cryogenic stage is intended to carry heavier satellites of the order of 2200 kg into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits (GTO). With the marvellous success of the fifth developmental flight of GSLV in 2014, India became the sixth among the space faring nations to achieve capability in cryogenic rocket propulsion.
The heavy lift launcher GSLV MkIII (alias LVM3) is intended to enhance the GTO capability to 4000 kg and is currently under development.