THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Preparations were in full swing for the keenly-awaited Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III) mission, slated for the first week of June, top ISRO officers said here on Friday.
The cryogenic upper stage has been integrated on the rocket and the GSAT-19 satellite, the payload, will be placed on board by next week, K Sivan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), said on the sidelines of the national workshop on space applications for sustainable development and advancement here. This will be the first full-fledged mission of the GSLV Mk-III, which is also the most powerful Indian rocket to date.
A reliable GSLV Mk-III will make India self-sufficient in launching heavier satellites. "In 2014, we had conducted a GSLV Mk-III, but with a ‘passive’ cryogenic upper stage. The 2014 mission was mainly intended to validate the launch vehicle,’’ Sivan said. The GSAT-19 is a 3.2 tonne satellite, but the GSLV Mk-III is designed to carry payloads weighing up to four tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit.
“The cryogenic upper stage of the rocket is powered by the CE-20 cryogenic engine, which has been fully designed, developed and manufactured in India,” S Somanath, director of ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), responsible for the engine’s development, said.
"The confidence level in the engine is very high. This is a totally new engine, and one that is quite different from the cryo engine used in the GSLV Mk-II. The CE-20 provides a thrust of 20 tonnes. All tests on the engine have been successful,’’ Somanath said.
"The whole campaign is going on in a very professional and fast-track mode,’’ P Kunhikrishnan, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, said. The GSLV Mk-III mission comes almost within a month of the GSLV Mk-II mission which placed the South Asia Satellite in orbit.
‘JV plans not meant for privatisation’
The joint venture between ISRO and industries does not mean privatisation of the space programme, ISRO officers said. “The JV is only under discussion, Nothing will go out of ISRO’s control,” VSSC director K Sivan said. Private industries are already involved in the fabrication of components of launch vehicles. ISRO is in charge of their assembly, integration and tests.
Chandrayaan II in December
“ISRO expects to launch the Chandrayaan II moon mission in December this year,” VSSC director K Sivan said on Friday. A follow-up mission to the 2008 Chandrayaan I mission, the second moon mission will be armed with an orbiter as well as a moon rover.