After the successful launch of PSLV-C23 carrying five foreign satellites on Monday, the next major launch lined up by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is GSLV MkIII experimental mission carrying the crew module, a senior Isro official said.
“For the manned mission, we need a crew module in which the astronauts will be housed. This will orbit and can then be recovered. We are planning an experimental flight of GSLV Mk III with passive cryogenic stage in August this year to validate the vehicle performance during the atmospheric phase of the flight. The first developmental flight of GSLV-Mk III is targeted for 2016,” he said.
India’s attempt to develop a heavy lift launch vehicle has reached a significant milestone with GSLV-Mk III, which is capable of launching 4 tonne class of communication satellites to Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), he said adding: “This vehicle has two 200 tonne solid booster (S-200) stage and L-110 tonne liquid core stage. Realisation of GSLV Mk-III will help Isro to put heavier satellites into orbit.”
Regarding the preparedness of Isro for the human space flight he said: “The program is yet to be approved. Isro is developing certain critical technologies to fit the same. The crew module that will be launched by GSLV MkIII experimental mission is one such development."
On the Mars Mission he said the spacecraft had crossed 75% of its total journey of 680 million km. “It is on the right path. It may need one more trajectory correction during August. Isro is quite confident of the Mars Orbit Insertion operation on Sept 24.”
Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan had earlier told HT that the Monday’s launch would the first fully commercial launch of foreign satellites after September 2012. “In between we had a launch in February 2013 but that was not fully commercial. The launch of the foreign satellites is a reflection on the strides Isro has made in the space programme.”