India launches heaviest rocket into space

ISRO-Kiran Kumar Rao

India's space agency Isro (Indian Space Research Organisation) is all set to launch its heaviest and most powerful rocket until date, the GSLV Mk III-D1, on 5 June at 5:28 pm IST (11:58 am GMT).

India Monday scripted history as it successfully launched its heaviest home-made rocket GSLV MkIII-D1 billed as the "Naughty boy" of Space Agency ISRO carrying communication satellite GSAT-19.

He added that the successful GSLV MK III D1 mission would lead to the third stream of operational launch vehicles for ISRO with higher capacity payloads leading to much higher throughput satellites in the near future. Not only the rocket, the GSLV Mk III launch has also proved the efficiency of CE20 indigenous cryogenic engine, a completely new technology created to double the thrust and capability to lift double the payload than the previous GSLV Mk II, which could only carry a 2-tonne payload. "I congratulate all its scientists, engineers and employees for achieving a rare feat in maiden attempt", said Siddaramaiah in a statement here. "The nation is proud", the Prime Minister said. 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.

Billed as a potential gamechanger satellite, GSAT-19 was equivalent to having a constellation of 6-7 of the older variety of communication satellites in space.

Earlier, ISRO had launched the 3,404 kg GSAT-18 communication satellite from Ariane, French Guiana. In case of successful test the rocket used to launch manned spacecraft.

After its separation from the GSLV-Mk III, the GSAT - 19 will use its own propulsion system to reach its geostationary orbital home. 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.

Isro would have used the CE-20 powered GSLV Mk III in 2003 had it not been for the U.S. sanctions and a case foisted on Isro scientist Nambi Narayanan, who was the project director for the development of cryogenic engine in the early 1990s.

Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director K. Sivan said "The design carrying capacity of the rocket is four tonnes".

According to space scientists, cryogenic engines provide unprecedented power in terms of thrust to GSLV rockets in their final stages while keeping fuel loads on the rocket relatively low.

India wants to become the fourth nation - after Russian Federation, the United States and China - to put astronauts into orbit but its manned spaceflight programme has seen multiple stops and starts.

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