GSLV Mark III ready for mission

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The core second stage of GSLV-Mk III, with 110 tonnes of liquid propellants,
just before it was flagged off on Friday from the Liquid Propulsion Systems
Centre (LPSC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. Photo: LSPC, ISRO

The core second stage of GSLV-Mk III, with 110 tonnes of liquid propellants,
just before it was flagged off on Friday from the Liquid Propulsion Systems
Centre (LPSC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. Photo: LSPC, ISRO

India took the first step on Friday towards the liftoff
of the experimental mission of its gigantic Geo-synchronous Satellite
Launch Vehicle-Mark III when the rocket’s core stage, weighing more than
110 tonnes, was flagged off from the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre,
Mahendragiri, near Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, to Sriharikota in Andhra
Pradesh. The significance of the mission is that it will be a forerunner
to India sending its astronauts to space. For, the GSLV-Mk III in this
flight will carry a crew capsule without astronauts. The capsule will
return to earth with the help of parachutes. The mission will take place
in June or first week of July.
The Indian Space
Research Organisation calls its mission to send Indian astronauts to
space the Human Space Flight (HSF) programme.
K.
Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO, said the crew capsule will weigh 3.5
tonnes. It will carry no astronauts, he stressed. It was a replica of
the crew module that would be put into orbit in a real mission. “The
module is undergoing structural engineering tests” at the Vikram
Sarabhai Space Centre, Dr. Radhakrishnan said.
M.C.
Dathan, Director, LPSC, emphasised that it will be an experimental
mission. The rocket will do a sub-orbital flight, that is, reach an
altitude of less than 100 km. Its upper cryogenic stage will not fire.
It is “a passive flight,” Mr. Dathan said. Instead of cryogenic
propellants, the cryogenic stage would carry liquid nitrogen, which
would be inert.
GSLV-Mk III is the “muscular
sibling” of GSLV-Mk II which has an indigenous cryogenic engine. GSLV-Mk
III can put a communication satellite weighing four tonnes into
geo-synchronous transfer orbit or a 10-tonne satellite into low-earth
orbit.
Mr. Dathan said GSLV-Mk III’s core stage was
flagged off from Mahendragiri on Friday. It would reach Sriharikota on
Sunday evening. It will be married up with the other stages there.
“The
assembling of one booster stage, weighing more than 200 tonnes, has
already been completed at Sriharikota. The assembly of another booster
stage is under way.”
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