ISRO GSLV Mk 3 Rocket Launch: In a historic first, ISRO had launched India’s heaviest satellite Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) on Monday. The successful assumes significance as India can now launch 4-ton class of satellites of foreign countries. Earlier, ISRO had to depend on foreign launchers for communication satellites weighing more than 2,300 kg. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed ISRO scientists and said that the GSLV – MKIII D1/GSAT-19 mission took the country closer to the next generation launch vehicle and satellite capability.
Why does the launch hold importance
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The launch of the communication satellite GSAT-19 has been regarded as more important than Chandrayaan or Mangalyaan space missions, according to Indian Express report.
P V Venkita Krishnan, director of ISRO propulsion complex, had termed the launch vehicle as a game-change and said it had made quantum leaps in terms of hardware. Lauding the indigenous aspect, he had said there were more of swadeshi components and minimal hardware from outside. Earlier, the ISRO had launched the 3,404 kg GSAT-18 communication satellite from Ariane, French Guiana. He said that with this launch India joined an elite group of a few countries that possess the technology of mastering the complex and high performance cryogenic technology, as per PTI report.
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The mission happens to be the first “developmental” flight of the next generation called GSLV-MkIII with an entirely indigenous cryogenic upper stage that ISRO has been trying to master since the 1990s, the IE report says. According to IE report, this cryogenic stage, that involves handling fuel at very low temperatures, is crucial to providing the extra thrust required by the rocket to carry heavier satellites deeper into space.
Necessity is the mother of invention
Notably, US had denied this technology to ISRO in the early 1990s. America’s move had forced India to develop cryogenic technology on its own, the report says.
ISRO had planned the development of a cryogenic engine way back in the mid-1980s. Back then only a few countries like the US, the erstwhile USSR, France and Japan — had the technology. It had held discussions with Japan, US and France but finally settled for procuring Russian engines. In 1991, ISRO and the Russian space agency, Glavkosmos, had signed an agreement for supply of two of these engines along with transfer of technology so that the Indian scientists could build these on their own in the future, the report says.
How this will help ISRO
The successful lift off will boost ISRO’s ambitions of sending manned mission to space. Apart from this, it will help ISRO’s planetary exploration satellites hinge totally on GSLV. It can also hope to garner a significant share of the international satellite launch market now that it is able to launch payloads heavier than 3 tons.
The successful launch breaks ISRO’s jinx
The successful launch of GSLV Mk III helped ISRO finally crossing hurdle which it had faced every single time while launching first time rockets, according to TOI report.
Its first experimental launch of Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 (SLV-3) on August 10, 1979 had failed. It had also experienced disappointment during the first developmental launch of Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) carrying SROSS-1 satellite on March 24, 1987, the TOI report says. After that, ISRO endured tough times during the developmental launch of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying IRS-IE satellite on September 20, 1993, the report says.