ISRO scientists have started the countdown for the launch of GSLV Mark III tomorrow to carry the Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.
“The 24 and a half hour countdown for the mission has commenced at 9 am on December 17,” ISRO said after completing the Mission Readiness Review and obtaining clearance from the Launch Authorisation Board on Tuesday for the launch on December 18 at 9.30 am.
ISRO would also test the ability of the CREW module to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere with high temperature resistance, then parachute deployment in cluster formation, aero braking system and apex cover separation procedures.
The special parachutes would help the module ‘soft-crash’ in the Bay of Bengal, some few hundred km from Indira Point in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and it would be fetched by Indian Coast Guard ships later.
“The entire exercise would be completed in around 20 to 30 minutes from lift-off in Sriharikota to splashing in the Bay of Bengal,” said an ISRO official.
The 630-tonne GSLV-Mk III built with a budget of rs.155 crore will carry the 3.65 tonne crew module which will help India to send manned mission to the moon or even Mars at a later date.
Otherwise, tomorrow’s experiment would pave the way for the launch of heavier satellites into orbit, instead of depending on Arianespace as GSLV Mk III is designed to launch heavier communication satellites of INSAT-4 class, which weigh 4,500 to 5,000 kg.