The GSLV MkIII
The Indian Space Agency, otherwise referred to as the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), launched its most powerful rocket yet, the GSLV MkIII, and deployed a communications satellite into low orbit.
In so doing, it improved its prospects within the global space industry. The Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle, or ‘Fat boy’ for short launched in clear weather from the Sriharikota space station in Southern India.
According to the Indian Space Research Organization, this was the first orbital mission the rocket has performed and was supposed to evaluate its performance and that of the cryogenic-upper stage during the course of the flight.
This represents the success of a 25-year long journey the space station has had to develop its own cryogenic engine which is required in order to support some of the heavier satellites including the GSAT 19.
It joins nations like China, Japan in Asia, as well as NASA and the European Space Agency in the west, that have the capability of launching satellites with such tonnage.
The GSLV MkIII
The GSLV MkIII is one of the upgraded versions of the GSLV rocket. The version, which launched the satellite, was 141 feet tall and weighed 705 tons at launch. Though it is slightly shorter than the previous iteration, the new rocket is allegedly 200 tons heavier and able to ferry satellites with up to an 8,818 pound weight class to a geostationary transfer orbit which happens to be about twice the power of the previous version.
Apparently, the GSLV MkIII is a heavy lift rocket is powered by liquid filled core storage, liquid filled upper stage and two strap-on rocket motors. It was first flown in 2014 and researchers did checks on the module claiming that it would be utilized for a manned mission in the near future.
Support from the government increases space program potential
The launch yesterday though was not the only milestone for the space program in India this year. The ISRO in February sent a smaller polar satellite launch vehicle with 104 satellites which claimed a new record for the most number of satellites that has ever been launched from one rocket.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his congratulations to the research team that was responsible for the launch of the GSLV MkIII stating that it took the country to another level and made it a contender within the global space industry.
The stint the Indian space agency did in February was mostly for foreign clientele, hence the appeal. Modi’s administration has been in support of the domestic space program in a move to demonstrate the potential of low cost technology.
Considering the low labor costs and support from the government, the nation has been able to place satellites into space at a cost which is 60 to 70 percent lower than that of the nations which are competing against it. The next step as expected by the government and the Indian Space Agency would be to send personnel on the rockets on a manned space mission into low earth orbit, though it has not yet been approved.