Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch its most powerful launch vehicle, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III into space. Built to lift the heaviest Indian communication satellites, GSLV Mark-III could be a game changer when it comes to India’s space efforts. Furthering the possibilities of indigenous launches of bigger satellites, it will reduce the dependence on other countries. Till now, India has been using high-cost European rockets to launches satellites weighing two tonnes. The new vehicle has the ability to put satellites weighing upto four tonnes in space, and it is double the weight of what the current GSLV-Mark-II can lift. GSLV Mark-III will also enable ISRO to launch from India heavier communication spacecraft to geostationary orbits of 36,000 km. GSLV Mark III will launch the GSAT-19 satellite, which is a high throughput communication satellite. It will help in India’s efforts to increase internet connectivity in the country.
ISRO will be launching the GSLV Mark III, earlier named Launch Vehicle Mark (LVM)-3, a heavy launch capability launcher, on June 5 from Sriharikota. The GSLV is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons, a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C25). GSLV-Mk III-D1 is the first developmental flight carrying the GSAT-19 satellite. With this, ISRO will enter into a bold new world by pushing its way to make its mark in the multi-billion dollar space rocket launch market. ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar told PTI, “We are pushing ourselves to the limits to ensure that this new fully self-reliant Indian rocket succeeds in its maiden launch.” This launch will basically allow India to achieve complete self-reliance in launching satellites, and may also pave way for manned satellites into space. As of now, just three countries, namely the US, Russia and China, have the capability of launching manned missions.
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While the satellite has the capability of manned missions, AS Kiran Kumar told TOI that it won’t be possible until prior government approval as the key priority is to meet the national demand of providing more number of satellites into orbits in the field of communication, remote sensing and navigation.
In a first, the new cryogenic engine, which uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants, is being tested on a fully functional rocket and according to ISRO, its scientists have been trying to master the technology for more than 15 years. Meanwhile, GSAT-19 satellite will employ advanced spacecraft technologies including bus subsystem, indigenous Li-ion battery, indigenous Bus bars for power distribution, etc.
The GSLV Mk III began developing in the early 2000s and the first launch was planned in the year 2009-10. However, some failures, including one in 2010, lead to a delay in the programme. Then finally, the first experimental flight of LVM3, the LVM3-X/CARE mission lifted off from Sriharikota on December 18, 2014, and successfully tested the atmospheric phase of flight.