ISRO has conducted launch rehearsal of the country’s heaviest launch vehicle GSLV Mark III, today ahead of the scheduled launch on December 18.
“The nine hour 30 minutes launch rehearsal of ISRO LVM3 has just been successfully completed,” ISRO said on its Facebook page.
The 630-tonne rocket will be powered by liquid and solid fuel engines while the cryogenic stage/engine and carry a crew module to test its re-entry capability. Even China conducted similar test successfully in October this year. US, Russia, Europe have already achieved this capability.
“The main purpose of the mission is to test the atmospheric characteristics and stability of the rocket on its way up. We also decided to use this opportunity to test one component of the crew module – a human space mission that India may embark on at a later date,” M.Y.S Prasad, director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, told reporters recently.
The experimental mission will cost Rs.155 crore and will not carry any satellite as the cryogenic engine needed for the purpose is still under development, he said. “The cryogenic engine is under development and will take more two years to be ready,” he said.
As the other rocket engines are ready, ISRO decided to go ahead with this mission. “This will be India’s new launch vehicle. It is bigger and can carry satellites up to four tonnes,” said GSLV Mark III project director S. Somanath.
As for the crew module, it will not carry any living being and is only for study purposes. The main objective of the crew module is to demonstrate its re-entry flight and aero braking, and end-to-end parachute system validation.
The rocket will go up to 126 km and the crew capsule will then detach and fall into the Bay of Bengal, 20 minutes after blast-off. The descent speed of the crew module will be controlled on board motors for some distance and then by three parachutes.
The module will splash down 600 km from Port Blair and 1,600 km from the space centre. The capsule will be recovered by an Indian Coast Guard or Indian Navy ship.
The crew module, looking like a giant-size cup cake – black on top and brown at the bottom – weighs around four tonnes. According to an ISRO official, it will be in the size of a small bedroom and can accommodate 2-3 people.
The GSLV-III or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III is conceived and designed to make ISRO fully self reliant in launching heavier communication satellites of INSAT-4 class, which weigh 4500 to 5000 kg.
It would mainly make the country proud in carrying into space heavy loaded satellites and become a key player in the multimillion dollar commercial launch market. The vehicle envisages multi-mission launch capability for GTO, LEO, Polar and intermediate circular orbits.
GSLV-Mk III is designed to be a three stage vehicle, with 42.4 m tall with a lift off weight of 630 tonnes. First stage comprises two identical S200 Large Solid Booster (LSB) with 200 tonne solid propellant, that are strapped on to the second stage, the L110 re-startable liquid stage. The third stage is the C25 LOX/LH2 cryo stage.
The large payload fairing measures 5 m in diameter and can accommodate a payload volume of 100 cu m. Realisation of GSLV Mk-III will help ISRO to put heavier satellites into orbit.
(With inputs from IANS)