India hopes new rocket can carry humans into space

06 June, 2017, 06:21 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • Image for representation only

India has successfully launched its most powerful home-produced rocket, another milestone for its indigenous space programme which one day hopes to put a human into orbit.

While Indian space scientists named the 640 tonne rocket "fat boy", the Telugu media nicknamed it "Bahubali", as like the hero in the massively successful film lifts a heavy Lingam, it carried the heaviest satellite by an Indian rocket. Today's successful launch, where the cryogenic GSLV MK-III launch vehicle performed exceptionally well, adds to the agency's growing list of achievements in a rather short span of time. The GSLV - MKIII D1/GSAT-19 mission takes India closer to the next generation launch vehicle and satellite capability. Preliminary MkIII activities also started and facilities for MkIII were getting set up, however, later the MkIII entered a slow down because of the glitches in achieving CUSP of MkII, ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said.

The GSLV MkIII-D1 rocket is scheduled for lift off at 5.28 pm on Monday from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, around 120 km from here. GSLV-Mk III is the heaviest rocket ever made by India and is capable of carrying the heaviest satellites made till date.

The rocket is powered by an indigenous engine that uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants, Kumar told reporters.

Today's mission is of great importance as it carries the single GSAT-19 satellite, a significant upgrade from older communications satellites in the sky.

India has already sent its first man, Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma, into space in 1984, but that launch was facilitated by the erstwhile USSR on board the Soyuz T-11 rocket. 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.

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

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 GSAT-19 next-gen communications satellite has a lifespan of around 10 years and is carrying along Ka and Ku-band multibeam payload.

The two strap-on motors of GSLV Mk III are located on either side of its core liquid booster.

Isro began work on building indigenous cryogenic engine in the 1970s, though it gained momentum after Russian Federation denied transfer of technology.

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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