The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is touching the skies and making India proud. After the successful launch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project – the South Asia Satellite – the agency is now gearing up to set yet another milestone. ISRO is now gearing up for the maiden launch of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III). Notably, the GSLV Mark-III is ISRO’s heaviest and most powerful rocket with a weight of 640-tonne.
Though the date of launch of the GSLV Mark-III rocket has not been announced yet but it is going to most likely happen in first week of June. One of the facts that make this rocket unique is that the space scientists at ISRO have developed its main and bigger cryogenic engine, that will provide power to the rocket for the first time.
Described as a ‘game-changer’ in the first of its kind space mission, the GSLV Mark-III rocket can manage to carry a heavier 4-tonne communications satellite.
With the launch of the GSLV Mark-III rocket, the Indian space agency is eying a greater share of the multi-billion dollar global space market with an aim to lessen dependency on foreign launching vehicles.
If the GSLV Mark-III launch turns out to be successful, it will add another feather in the cap of ISRO and would serve as a big leap towards being self-reliant in India’s space programme.
Currently, the Indian space agency is capable of launching payloads of up to 2.2 tonnes into the intended orbit. For anything above the aforementioned weight, ISRO had to seek help of foreign launch facilities.
“GSLV Mark-III is our next launch. We are getting ready. All the systems are in Sriharikota. The integration is currently going on,” ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar told reporters here.
“The whole process of assembling the various stages and then integrating the satellite into the heat shield, these activities are going on. First week of June is when we are targeting this launch,” he said.
The operationalisation of the GSLV Mark-III rocket is being seen as a ‘game-changer’ mission. The GSLV Mark-III rocket will allow ISRO to launch heavier communications spacecraft to geostationary orbits of 36,000 km.
Kiran Kumar said that since ISRO had to launch from foreign soil the communications satellites built beyond the capacity of 2.2 tonnes, efforts are now on to launch satellite up to 4 tonnes and even beyond in India itself.
The heaviest rocket will push satellites into geostationary orbit and will be used as a launcher for an Indian crew vehicle. The GSLV Mark-III is equipped with an Indian cryogenic third stage and has a higher payload capacity compared to the current GSLV.
GSLV Mark-III will lift Ka and Ku-band payload as well as a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload. The purpose is to study and monitor the nature of the charged particles and influence of space radiation on spacecraft and electronic components.
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The GSLV Mark-III rocket will also feature advanced spacecraft technologies including bus subsystem experiments in electrical propulsion system, indigenous Li-ion battery and indigenous bus bars for power distribution, among others.
Kiran Kumar said in terms of cost-effectiveness, the ISRO-developed technology on lithium ion batteries is good for space programme, but it requires the efforts of industry to develop it to reduce costs.