THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As ISRO began its countdown for Monday’s much-awaited Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III) mission, the space agency’s units in Thiruvananthapuram are keenly awaiting the results.
ISRO units in Thiruvananthapuram - VSSC, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) and the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU) - are largely responsible for the mission, which is capable of putting 4,000 kg satellites in geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The VSSC is ISRO’s nodal agency for the launch vehicles, and the LPSC is keeping its fingers crossed as the CE-20 cryogenic engine, which powers the third and upper stage, is about to be flight-tested for the first time. The CE-20 is a larger version of the indigenously built cryo engine built for the conventional GSLV Mk-II.
The countdown began at 3.30 pm on Sunday. “Everything is set for the launch. The countdown began on Sunday evening,” K Sivan, director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) said from Sriharikota.
GSLV Mk-III, India’s heaviest and most powerful rocket to date, is set to lift off at 5.28 pm, Monday.
A partial test of the GSLV Mk-III - where the cryogenic upper stage was not operated - had been successfully conducted in December 2015.