Sci-tech

Mark III - ISRO's most powerful rocket successfully launched

When the first developmental flight of GSLV-Mk III pierced through the sky after its launch from the Sriharikota launch pad at 5.28pm on Monday, it finally broke Isro's jinx of failing to achieve success in maiden rocket launches.

A multi-beam satellite, the GSAT-19 carries Ka and Ku band forward and return link transponders and geostationary radiation spectrometer (GRASP), as per the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

If launched successfully, "Fat Boy" will be the heaviest satellite into orbit by an Indian rocket till date.

Congratulating Isro scientists for the successful launch, PM Narendra Modi said, "GSLV-MKIII D1/Gsat-19 mission takes India closer to the next generation launch vehicle and satellite capability". ISRO will be aiming to put into orbit the communication satellite, GSAT-19, on board the GSLV-MkIII-D1.

"The habit of ISRO to execute a complex mission in a very professional way ultimately culminated into yet another significant event in 2017 at Sriharikota", P Kunhikrishnan, Scientist "H" and Deputy Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), said after the launch.

In 2014, Isro had flown a similar rocket, without a cryogenic engine but with a 3.7-tonne payload. While indigenous cryogenic engines have been carried on earlier flights as well in recent years, they were modelled on cryogenic engines designed by Russian Federation. Monday's launch carried the almost 7,000-pound GSAT-19 satellite, which has a 10-year life cycle and is meant to improve telecommunications and Internet services. However, their 13-story-high, 640-ton GSLV Mk III vehicle marks a new stage for nation's spacefaring ambitions, as it was designed by Indian researchers for transporting large devices and, eventually, astronaut capsules into orbit.

The United States, Russia, China, Japan and the European Space Agency have the capability to launch satellites weighing more than three tons.

In February this year, India put a record 104 satellites in orbit from a single rocket, surpassing Russian Federation which launched 39 satellites in one mission in June 2014.

Reportedly, the ISRO has asked Rs. 12,500 crore from the Centre for its mission to place humans in space.

"To be very honest there was a major limitation of thinking slightly big in space", says Ajay Lele at the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. The GSLV Mk III, which has two solid strap-ons, a liquid booster and a cryogenic upper stage, will be carrying the 3,136 kg GSAT-19 satellite.

Right now, out of a constellation of 41 in-orbit Indian satellites, there are 13 communication satellites Also, the total mission life of the GSAT-19 is a decade.

The space agency tested a less-developed version of the rocket in December 2014 while the cryogenic engine was still in the testing phase.



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