How India Developed World Class Rockets From Humble Beginnings.

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India’s Space Research Organization has managed to develop a world class space program and a series of launch vehicles that have multiplied their payload capabilities by hundreds of times between the SLV-3 able to place 40kg into orbit to the GSLV MKIII which can place 10 tons into orbit.

Starting with the SLV in the late 1970’s a and all the way up to the modern GSLV India has been heavily reliant on solid rocket motors to deliver their payloads, they’ve developed their own 200ton solid rocket motors, comparable to those used by the US and Arianespace.

India’s main liquid fueled engine is the Vikas, derived from Europe’s Viking, but evolved with greater capabilities. India also developed hydrolox engine technology on their own and have high performance upper stages on their GSLV rockets.

ISRO’s Web site

Lots of important information and imagery were compiled by Norbert Brugge’s and you can find much more on his excellent site:

  1. Sagar Kaushik

    SLV and ASLV had many initial failures, always ending up in the Bay of Bengal. This earned them the nickname “Sea Loving Vehicle” and “Always Sea Loving Vehicle”.

    Got the above info from the Mission ISRO podcast. It’s in English, if anyone wants to learn more about history of the organisation.

  2. wind k

    “world class”, dude, these rockets are literally the most inefficient models in their class.

    Edit: Yes I know there are very few operational orbital rockets in the world but Scott here flattering and fawning is just over the top.

  3. Ilya Torshov

    The most kerbal of rockets, a centre core SRB with strap on liquid fuel boosters

  4. DrRonski

    When Lockheed Martin started it’s commercial Titan program I made a trip to Bangalore trying to sell them launch services. They listened politely then after lunch a lovely staff member in traditional silk dress gave us a humbling lesson in commercial contracts vs. U S Air Force business practices. So much for beating our swords into plowshares.

  5. Avaneesh Koppikar

    Thanks a lot for this ♥️♥️♥️ Lots of love from India ♥️

  6. XBig, Not Good

    Oh Lord, no one show these mad lads Sea Dragon! 🤣

  7. Railgap Esoterica

    If they’re gonna be the fastest up-n-comer in the international space arena / race / gymkana, they really need to hire a marketroid to rename / brand their rockets!

  8. Abhilash Menon

    As an Indian space nerd and huge fan, the best part about this video is to hear Scot Manley say “Aryabhatta”

  9. J MacD

    Ya beat Tim to the punch! (He’s been mentioning he wanted to do an ISRO episode for a couple years now)

  10. Chall Acustica

    thank you for making this video, ISRO’s achievements in a much lower budget than other space agencies have been amazing. Very proud to have family who worked there

  11. Loan Qypol

    haha Mbot in the background, great memories

  12. kurunthalingam M

    Thanks scott…big fan from india…I like your lecture

  13. Justin Schiavo

    Wow! They’ve made amazing progress as a launch provider! Will be watching closely and hope for their further success

  14. Liquid Flames

    14:01 That’s a very… special color scheme for the vehicle assembly buildings. lol

  15. Rollertoaster 81

    That rocket moving at 14:00 gave me a chuckle. Looks like a target moving in a shooting gallery 😄

  16. Knightworld

    Given the shortcomings of India as a country. I feel very proud of my country as it was able to develop such a successful space program with such little funding. God bless my country and let’s hope that they develop further.

  17. zorgvxr

    Thanks Scott. I’m so happy youre unbiasedly covering indian, chinese, european, russian and the merucans equally. It’s such an interesting golden age we live in (finally) for space exploration. I would love to see you perhaps ponder a bit on the whole China is not allowed to be part of the space station topic. I’m sure it would be both facinating and interesting to learn how this calamity arose and how it can be solved. Space it the opportuity for man to unite..!

  18. Arush Reddi

    Legend has it that if you take the phrase “fly safe”, you’ll never be attacked by the kraken.

  19. Brian Kelsay

    Nice to see this layout of their space program. Like aviation, we all eventually get to similar aerodynamic shapes, engines, fuels, etc. Besides money, what do you see as holding them up on engine and fuel technology? Is it a lack of alloy tech, turbo pump design, thrust vectoring or guidance tech? I thought it was pretty impressive seeing them launch to moon and mars. Even getting there w/o landing perfectly is a feat to be admired. I’m interested in hearing more about ISRO and other countries programs. I just saw an engine test by Brasil this morning!! I didn’t know they had a program going.

  20. Space_Boi

    Scott pronouncing Indian names is just hilarious to see 😂😂

  21. battlekruiser

    That Outer Wilds frame in the background is very heartwarming, as is the indian space program

  22. MasterMAT

    Japanese rocket system please! 🙏

  23. Fizz

    Love the thicc rocket motors on the GSLV 3

  24. PiDsMedia

    Looks like a program of steady and well considered evolution, rather then try to make over ambitious leaps. The sort of thing that gets you there without any mad rush, might not be first to the prize, but are there to stay once they get there.

  25. Shubham Bhati

    What are your thoughts abt new indian privet companies or space launch vehicle startups such as skyroot aerospace, Bellatrix aerospace, agnikul cosmos? Thoughts on their under development launch Vehicle’s and engines???????

  26. MadZin Moo

    The animations of their crew vehicle are so bad, it makes me believe in their timeline more. I never trust anyone who puts too much money in animations.

  27. Avinash Mishra

    Thanks Scott Manley for all the KSP videos. It’s one of those games which actually taught me how satellite launches works 😂
    And that iconic “I’M SCOTT MANLEY. FLY SAFE”

  28. gammarayburst

    I remember watching a stream of the PSLV not knowing anything going in, and the damn thing just kept staging.
    “Stage 3 separation”
    Me: ok
    “Stage 4 separation”
    Me: what.

  29. Patrick Croskey

    Dragonriders of Pern?? Just saw that behind you in your newest video. Amazing series of Books. You have good taste Sir!

  30. blengi

    I’m curious, how much money has SpaceX invested space wise to date to achieve what they have in terms of reusability, launching people and cargo, 1000+ starlink global net satellites etc versus say ISRO’s budget – are they comparable bang for buck as it’s always money comparisons versus NASA/China etc?

  31. Kalyan A. Mahanty

    Want to see more on ISRO! Being an Indian it feels so proud!

  32. Gresvig

    They’re doing amazing stuff with a very limited budget, they’re clearly on the ball. Watched their launch maybe a month ago, they had trouble with the upper stage, but that sucker jumped off the pad like it meant it. Very impressive.

  33. The Wizard Games

    Like the naming of the rockets. Very to the point. Can’t wait until they start having more ceremonial names like challenger

  34. AlphaVox1

    1:29 I’ve never seen a rocket look so excited to get to space lol

  35. WWeronko

    As I studied ISRO’s rockets I had to admit these are very strange rockets. They certainly have no fear of doing things unconventionally.

  36. Tyrannus

    The most Kerbal space program in the entire world. :)

  37. tcb268

    Great work India to develop this capability! 🇮🇳👏👏

  38. Vansh wanth Kumar

    I was waiting for a video about our country’s space organisation, so thank you.

    I always want to comment about the statement ‘Indian national space agency’.
    There is no ‘Indian national space agency’ but it’s Indian space and research organisation.

    Thanks to sir S. Nambi Narayan for ‘Vikas engine’.He was also one of the key people while the development of the ‘viking engine’.

  39. Bradley Williston

    Wonderful video Scott !! Where do you learn all this information books articles online internet resources just general knowledge from talking to other people? I’m a huge fan I love your videos

  40. Rocketplumber

    I love the extra arms on the launch support tower, it’s so utterly Hindu.

  41. CyborgOctopus

    ISRO has some of the best engineers in the world making wondrous things happen.

  42. Henry A

    ISRO – possibly the most “Kerbal” space program.

    One of the most important things you learn in engineering is that there is ALWAYS more than one way of doing everything.

  43. Tibor Baksa

    GSLV engineers: What kind of propellant do you want to use?
    ISRO: Yes.

  44. chricton J

    What sort of Gs (acceleration) does the GSLV pull with a (looking huge) solid rocket engine and steering liquid engines?

  45. R4P70R

    5:48 Same mistake as Falcon Heavy?

  46. Phoebus20

    Absolutely love the travel style posters for the Outer Wilds planets. Also, super interesting video, had no idea about ISRO being so successful.

  47. epincion

    Thanks Scott. Great info as always. A launch vehicle made up of a mix of solid rockets plus UDMH & DNT is a very dirty rocket environmentally for this era.
    Hopefully will be eclipsed by less polluting tech.

  48. Aviation Lover

    All thanks to Harshit and his magic

  49. Robert Persons

    Terrific video. You really expand my knowledge on all things space.

  50. D. Cypher

    What a great topic.
    *Indeed, India has done more with less, than any other nation.*

    Thanks for sharing this!


  51. alchemist4160

    Aryabhatta is pronounced as Arya (pronounced like “Arya” Stark from Game of Thrones) + Bhatta (Scott did a workable pronunciation of it). The Satellite was named after Aryabhatta, the Indian mathematician from circa 500 AD who is credited with the place value system and the decimal system of numbers. He also did a bunch of astronomy stuff.

  52. Galileo Gaming

    Is it just me or does the GSLV Mk3 really seem similar to the Ariane 5? Both in visual appearance and redesigned concept from previous models

  53. Chuckiele

    I love their naming scheme. It tells you straightaway what youre dealing with :D

  54. Calvin Maclure

    Love that your doing this. Also, the GSLV Mk III is the most Kerbal looking rocket irl!

  55. Marco Genovesi

    Yeah, they learned quickly from other nations that parallel staging is “de whey” so they just spammed the same thing over and over kerbal-style. If it works it works

  56. Carl Explores

    Really interesting video, Scott. Thanks. I had an experiment fly on the PSLV many years ago as a part of the CANX2 nano-satellite.

  57. Mark Wandrey

    The Indian boosters definitely win the award for ‘the most parts shed at launch; on purpose’.

  58. Nazamroth

    “They launched it like 53 times! Some of them successfully.”
    Ringing endorsement, eh?

  59. Marcus Ayers

    I love it when the thumbnail is just a bunch of rockets

  60. Jerome Thiel

    The Indians graduate more engineers that most countries, including the US. So it’s not a big surprise that they are making good strides. Science is science, but engineers make the science work. Wish there was more working together rather than working separately, which would save a ton of money and resources.

    This is one of the sinning achievements of the ISS, it wasn’t one nations effort, it was a coalition working together and they achieved something awesome.

  61. Odysseus Rex

    In my correspondence with Indians in different comment fora, I have found that they divide into three groups, those very supportive of India’s space efforts, who see them as a source of national pride and a foundation for high tech industry and jobs, those think the money would be better spent trying to alleviate poverty through welfare programs, and those who reject both of these approaches as being continuing examples of Western imperialism and wish India would return to its traditional cultural ways. I can only say I disagree with the latter two.
    It seems there are many people, not just in India but in many other countries, who oppose anything that enhances national prestige and gives people a sense of [ride in their own countries. I have never understood that attitude. A dignified patriotic self esteem is always a positive good.

  62. Randall Wald

    I was hoping for some discussion of their upcoming plans for the SSLV and ULV, but I guess those may be too aspirational/incomplete for much information to be available publicly.

  63. Vysakh AK

    I’m so happy, I’ve waited for this like a long time ago. 😘👍

  64. Celia YAHCCS

    Stage separation still in the troposphere? Isn’t the troposphere much thicker nearer the equator? Is there a different minimum altitude for separation at different latitudes? Would it depend on pressure, temperature or gravity, or just the height of the tropopause or other layers? g is a bit less nearer the equator and maybe the Earth’s rotation helps…!

  65. Aditya Nagaraj

    Highly recommend the Spotify podcast “Mission ISRO with Harsha Bhogle” that traces the entire history of the organization and all the challenges it had to face

  66. Asger Vestbjerg

    Impressive presentation as always 👍😊
    Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us 👍😀

  67. Tharunkumar Hanumanthu

    Excellent comprehensive summary. you did miss RLV though :-) you would be surprised Starship is very similar to RLV (Two stage to orbit).. and in test phase.
    Semi Cryogenic Engines are planned to replace/retire large solid boosters. So yeah, then GSLV M3 is cleaner (you might agree).

  68. Gourav Dixit

    Thanks for mentioning beloved Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam… India’s Rocket man..

  69. ThatGameGuy

    Always been impressed by what ISRO has been able to achieve on its relatively modest budget. Can’t wait to see what it’ll do with a higher budget.

  70. reop reop

    Thank you for your work in making this video.

  71. Batman

    Its good to see other countries space program and tech.
    And their Rocket names makes sense.

  72. HebaruSan

    Those rocket names actually make sense! Is that allowed?

  73. Marcelo Araujo

    Hi Scott, have you ever considered making a video about the brazilian space program? I think our program would be a good example of lack of vision by a government.

  74. Aron Arinkin

    Спасибо Скотт!…

  75. Pranjal Jain

    Thank you Scott for shining some light on ISRO and India on a global stage and to an appreciative global audience. Space is for all and we all are doing our best. Would love to see smaller, lesser known agencies being brought to light too. Thank you and sending love from India

  76. Paul Kerman

    Very informative video! Just make sure your kids watch in 480p so they can’t read the book titles in the background =p

  77. Darien Craig

    Gonna start calling falcon heavy “augmented falcon 9”

  78. Nilav Kumar Jena

    5:00 APJ Abdul Kalam aka Missile Man. The most loved person in our whole country. I highly recommend anyone reading this to watch his lectures. He was a great man.

  79. Alex Landherr

    I know there may not be much but Scott could you do video on Esrange?

  80. M. Madni

    Always wanted to learn about these. thanks for the video

  81. jon wolgy

    Would be cool to have a follow-up video on where they launch and any difficulties with or opportunities that they have vs other countries.

  82. Fahim Muhammed

    Heyy Scott . Always happy when you put out any new content.
    With love, from India xD

  83. Abhinav Sriram

    Ayy! Finally ISRO getting some love

  84. Toni [GLXY]

    the ISRO was the topic of a paper i had to write for my finals, veeeeeeeery interesting and the pure efficiency of the ISRO are amazing

  85. General Jack Ripper

    Look like Civilization: Beyond Earth is coming along nicely.

  86. Otopon

    An interesting story i heard was that for the first rockets they transported some parts per bike

  87. mbaxter22

    ISRO is without a doubt the most cost effective space program out there. I look forward to what they’ll be doing in the years ahead as their budget increases. Look at what they’re already doing with less than 1/10 NASA’s budget.

  88. Aubrey Freeman

    One of these days, he’s going to make an “every rocket in the world” 5 hour video. And I’ll watch all 5 hours of it.

  89. N S

    I’ve been jonesin for something kick ass from you man! Keep up the good work 😂🤘🏼🤙🏼

  90. Hicham Mohsen

    Finally the ISRO video! Thank you Scott. Now do the israeli please.

  91. mlekod

    Love how much they achieved, considering amount of money they spent, and fact that they started pretty much in the shed…

  92. vdiitd

    Unfortunately ISRO is still falling behind. I wish India could increase its budget. ISRO could do wonders.

  93. reboot


  94. Gareeb Scientist

    Aryabhatta was the Indian scisntist that gave the world ‘0’ and many other things
    Once ISROs Semi cryogenic engines comes online, we will see a reusable HLV come to live withing 5 to 6 years I hope. That should lay foundation for the future space station

  95. Hermann Abt

    Dmitri Konanykhin has a great video series about how he worked on the hydrogen upper stage for India in the 90’s.

  96. Selvaraj Parthibhan

    Thank you for covering Indian rockets!

  97. Karen Baldwin - Composer,

    Awesome Scott✨🤗🎶👌

  98. Lee Ellis

    Finally another explaining ____ rockets, would love to see japans next

  99. Lucas: O garoto sem sorte

    I love your videos Scott, I’m a big space nerd and I hope to become an astronomer and Youtuber as big and cool as you!! Fly safe!!

  100. Christopher Lee

    Thanks for another great video, Scott!

Comments are closed.