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Crew Module Makes Textbook Return and Splashes Down In Calm Waters

Precisely at 9.30 a.m., the 630 tonne Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-MARK III) standing 43.43 metre tall freed itself from the second launch pad holds and with a reverberating deep throated roar, it rose into the sky.

Published: 18th December 2014 10:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th December 2014 07:08 PM   |  A+A-

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The GSLV Mk III experimental mission that took off at Sriharikota on Thursday morning Express | Albin Mathew

SRIHARIKOTA: A shade under 20 minutes after it blazed a trail in the sky, ISRO's chief Dr K Radhakrishnan allowed himself a broad smile. He even stepped up to the podium to pick up the shiny gold replica of the GSLV Mark III launch vehicle and place it more prominently so that the cameras would catch it. Pride is an emotion that is difficult to contain, even if you're privy to some of the country's most cutting edge technology, "Everything went off as expected. This new launch vehicle performed very well and is a great success. We had an unmanned crew module to understand re-enetry characteristics. That also went off successfully and it has touched down in the Bay of Bengal," he said happily.

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So what does this success signify? First and most excitingly, we're most certainly that much closer to the dream of manned space flight. "As it made it's way back into our atmosphere the parachutes that brought it down really worked well and we are pleased with the performance. This is a step towards manned space flight as the module that has been designed to carry astronauts has touched down safely. The coast guard ships that were 100 km away from the touchdown point lost sight of it briefly, but the module continued to communicate it's location to us," said Unnikrishnan Nair, the man behind the Manned Space Flight mission. Perhaps putting an Indian man (or women) in space in an Indian ship isn't such a difficult thing to imagine for 2017, after all.