On June 5, 2017, scientists at ISRO successfully launched GSLV Mk III, a 640-tonne rocket that is the largest ever from India, putting the country head and shoulders with space giants such as the U.S., Russia, and China. The space shuttle carried a satellite that weighed more than three tonnes, the heaviest payload India has ever achieved, which opens opportunity to send humans into space in the near future.
This achievement comes merely a few months after February’s launch of 104 nano satellites aboard a single rocket into orbit by ISRO. India had also launched a space probe in November 2013, which has been revolving around Mars since September 2014. With the launch of GSLV Mk III, India has thrown its hat in the booming commercial satellite business, as internet, phone, and other companies seek expansion to high-end communications.
Relentless Work of a Decade and Half Pays off
According to the Indian Space Research Organization, which is based at Sriharikota, an island off the cost of Andhra Pradesh, the 43-meter Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III rocket was lauched at 5.28pm local time. A concept that was under development since 2002, the space shuttle was powered by an indigenous engine that utilizes liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as fuel. This is a landmark achievement by Indian scientists, who previously were using French rockets to launch their large communication satellites.
GSAT-19 Satellite has a Life-span of 10 Years
GSLV Mk III carried GSAT-19, a multi-beam satellite that carries Ka and Ku bands as well as return link transponders and GRASP, which will help in studying the nature of charged particles and the impact of space radiation on various electronic components of a satellite. GSAT-19 has a life span of nearly a decade, and features advanced spacecraft technologies such as a fiber optic gyro, miniaturized heat pipe, micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometer, indigenous lithium-ion batteries, and Ku-band TTC transponder.