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GSLV Mark-III lifts off successfully from Sriharikota

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro’s) first sub-orbital flight and India’s latest generation launch vehicle- GSLV Mk-III lifted off successfully from the Sriharikotta space station, near Chennai at 9:30 am today. 

The S200 stage performance and the L110 stage performance are normal, Isro said.

The vehicle is also carrying the Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE).

The countdown for the launch started on December 17 at 09:00 hrs (IST), after the Mission Readiness Review (MRR) and Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) met on December 16 to review the progress of pre-launch activities and cleared launch for today at 09:30 hrs (IST).

Isro’s heaviest and upgraded rocket – the 630-tonne three-stage rocket Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III — carries active solid boosters, liquid core stage and a passive cryo stage and a crew module to test its re-entry characteristics. 

This rocket is capable of doubling the capacity of payloads India can carry into space and it can deposit up to four tonne class of communication satellites into space. 

Isro hopes this will become the main stay rocket in the future, which later will be suitably equipped for ferrying Indian astronauts into space.

They added that during this flight, the rocket will be tested on how it performs during its travel in the atmosphere. It will have the first two stages as active rocket engines, while the third stage that consists of the cryogenic engine is a passive stage. 

The heavy-duty cryogenic engine necessary for this rocket is still under development by Isro and  a full-fledged launch of the rocket can be expected in a few years.

Earlier M Y S Prasad, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR – Sriharikota said, “the main purpose of the mission is to test the atmospheric characteristics and stability of the rocket on its way up”.

Isro also decided to use this opportunity to test the component of a crew module, which may provide insights for a human space mission that India may embark at a later date. 

Cost of this experimental mission is Rs 155 crore.

“This will be India’s new launch vehicle. It is bigger and can carry satellites upto four tonne,” added Somanath, project director, GSLV Mark III said.

According to Prasad, this rocket will not have the critical cryogenic engine for putting four tonnes satellites into orbit. The cryogenic engine is under development and it will take more two years to be ready, said Prasad.

As the other rocket engines are ready, Isro decided to have this mission and the crew module will not carry any living being and it is only for study purposes, Isro clarified.

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