SRIHARIKOTA: India's brand new and heaviest rocket - the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) - with the 3,136 kg communication satellite GSAT-19 on board, blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport on Monday.
Precisely at 5.28 p.m., the GSLV-Mk III rocket, on its maiden flight, began its ascent towards space from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC).
India's global presence in highly-competitive space market has just taken a giant leap. The first developmental flight of GSLV MkIII, the country’s heaviest rocket weighting 640 tonnes, has successfully placed GSAT-19 communication satellite into designated Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) in a perfect launch.
This opens a new chapter for Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), as GSLV MkIII was flown with home grown C25 cryogenic stage, which was crucial for it to become self-reliant. India now gained capability to launch 4 tonne class communication satellites, otherwise dependent on European carriers paying hefty fee.
Isro chairman AS Kiran Kumar called the launch 'historic' and shared the success with entire team Isro. GSLV MkIII is the all-new launch vehicle added to the presently operational launch vehicles - PSLV and GSLV MkII. It is the fifth launch vehicle variant developed by the space agency. The 43.43 metres tall rocket lifted-off from the second launch pad at India’s rocket port at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 100 km from Chennai.
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All the three propulsion element of GSLV MkIII – the solid S200 stages, the liquid L110 core stage carrying hypergolic liquid propellants and C25 cryogenic upper stage carrying about 28 tonnes of cryogenic propellants stored on-board at very low temperatures– are new developments, and performed exceptionally well.
Other advances systems include navigation, guidance and control system and stage separation systems. With this, Isro has also broken its traditional jinx. The agency was carrying the burden of having miserable record of maiden rocket launches. In 1979, the launch of the Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 (SLV-3) ended in failure. In 1993, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) ended in the sea on its launch and in 2001, the maiden launch of the GSLV also meet watery grave. However, Monday’s success showed Isro has come a long way for these things to matter.
After PSLV’s maiden failure, it registered 38 consecutive successful launches placing 46 Indian satellites and 180 satellites from customer from abroad. Under Kiran Kumar’s leadership, who took charge in January 2015, the space agency hasn’t seen a failure. GSLV MkIII is also country’s shortest rocket compared to both GSLV MkII and PSLV-XL, but double the weight of PSLV and over 200 tonnes more than GSLV MkII. This has earns it a nickname ‘fat boy’.