ISRO launches India’s heaviest rocket: What you need to know about GSLV Mark-III
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the country’s heaviest rocket – Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) – along with a communications satellite GSAT-19 on Monday evening. (LIVE UPDATES)
A successful launch of this rocket is yet another major step towards being self-reliant in the country’s space programme.
Here is all you want to know about the rocket described as a “game-changer” in the first of its kind space mission.
• The rocket, weighing 640 tonnes and standing 43.43 metres tall, blasted off from the second launch pad at India’s rocket port at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 5:28pm. It carried a 3,136-kg GSAT-19 communications satellite – the heaviest to be lifted by an Indian rocket till date – to an altitude of around 179km above the Earth after just over 16 minutes into the flight.
• The rocket’s main and bigger cryogenic engine has been developed by space scientists indigenously. It will help India get a greater share of the multi-billion dollar global space market and reduce dependency on international launching vehicles.
• It will also enable ISRO to launch from India heavier communications spacecraft to geostationary orbits of 36,000 km. Because of the absence of a powerful launcher, ISRO currently launches satellites above 2 tonnes on European rockets for a big fee.
• The GSAT-19, with a lifespan of 10 years, is a multi-beam satellite that will carry Ka and Ku-band payload along with a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of the charged particles and influence of space radiation on spacecraft and electronic components.
• It would also employ advanced spacecraft technologies including bus subsystem experiments in the electrical propulsion system, indigenous Li-ion battery and indigenous bus bars for power distribution, among others.
• ISRO had flown a similar rocket without the cryogenic engine but with 3.7-tonne payload in 2014 mainly to test its structural stability while in flight and the aerodynamics. S Somanath, director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, told IANS that the inputs of the 2014 mission enabled the ISRO to reduce the rocket load by around 20%.
• GSLV-Mk III, at around 43 metres, is slightly shorter than Mk-II version that is around 49 metres tall. “The new rocket may be slightly short but has more punch power,” an ISRO official told IANS.
• India presently has two rockets -- the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and GSLV-Mk II -- with a lift-off mass of 415 tonnes and a carrying capacity of 2.5 tonnes.
• Earlier in May, India successfully launched the South Asia Satellite, intended to serve “economic and developmental priorities” of South Asian nations, using its heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09).
• India has two rockets – the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and GSLV-Mk II – with a lift-off mass of 415 tonnes and a carrying capacity of 2.5 tonnes.