Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to launch its heaviest rocket – Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) — into space later today. The liftoff is scheduled for 5:28 PM today, from the second launch pad at SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. In the run up to the launch, the talking point of GSLV Mk III has been its weight. Weighing more than 200 full-grown Asian elephants, this would be ISRO’s heaviest-ever rocket launch. Here are some interesting facts about the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III). Also Read - FIR filed against Twitter India again, now over child pornography contentAlso Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needy
Mark III stands tall at 43.43 meters — as high as a 13-storey building.
It will be carrying a 3,136-kg GSAT-19 communications satellite — heaviest load 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 GSAT-19 spacecraft has a design life of ten years.
Despite sharing a name with its predecessors, the GSLV Mk III is a completely new vehicle. The Mark III is a three-stage rocket, with the first stage comprising of two solid rocket motors mounted on either side of a liquid-fueled core, containing two stages.
It is also India s first fully functional rocket to be tested with a cryogenic engine that uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants.
In the near future, this rocket is expected to carry Indian astronauts into space. The Indian space agency has already developed critical technologies for a human space mission. What interesting is that ISRO has suggested the first person fly into space from India could be a woman.
The development of the rocket started back in 1994. Two decades later, and after more than 11 flight tests, the rocket is finally ready for a take-off.
Why is the launch so important to India?
Rajeshwari Rajagopalan Pillai, Senior fellow and Head, Nuclear & Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation told The Wire that a successful GSLV Mk III test can make India somewhat self-reliant in launching heavier communication satellites.
In the past, India has relied on the French Ariane 5 rocket to launch its heavy satellites. On one hand, where it has remained an important component in the India-France space cooperation, this technology was denied to India by the Soviet Union under pressure from the US two decades back. Back then export controls on technologies were used to prevent India from developing missile or nuclear technology.
Currently, the world s main launch vehicles are Ariane 5, Soyuz, Falcon 9 and ULA s Delta/Atlas. Out of these, the Ariane 5 and Falcon 9 are the most widely used to launch communication satellites, and it is this space ISRO is targeting with the launch of the Mk III. ALOS READ: ISRO plans to launch 12 satellites per year: Chairman AS Kiran Kumar
Information and Photos: ISRO