ISRO gears up to launch its heaviest satellite
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has added another feather to its cap with its latest indigenous rocket. Standing tall on the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh is the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III)—the heaviest rocket ever made by India that is capable of carrying the heaviest satellites, says a PTI report.
ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar said,
We are pushing ourselves to the limits to ensure that this new, fully self-reliant Indian rocket succeeds in its maiden launch. An indigenous rocket as heavy as 200 full-grown Asian elephants could take Indians into space from the Indian soil.
Kumar said that the GSLV-Mk III, which was earlier named the Launch Vehicle Mark-3, could be India's vehicle of choice. He added,
Indians into space from Indian soil using Indian rockets. In principle, it will be the GSLV Mk-III or its variant that will be human rated in future.
The heavy lift rocket is capable of placing up to 8 tonne in a low earth orbit, enough to carry India’s crew module. ISRO has already made plans of hoisting a human crew of two to three into space as soon as the government gives it a sanction of about $4 billion. If the plan succeeds, India would be the fourth country after Russia, the US, and China to initiate a human space flight programme.
There are rumours that the first Indian to go into space could be a woman. The GSLV Mk-III is the heaviest fully functional rocket to reach the launch pad weighing 640 tonne or almost five times the weight of a fully loaded Jumbo Jet airplane. The rocket has the capacity of carrying satellites of 4-tonne class into the geosynchronous orbit and opens a whole new window through which ISRO can now explore the universe.
It is also estimated that the new rocket costs a whopping Rs 300 crore but the country would end up saving almost as much when an Indian launcher is used to place New Delhi's communication satellites. As of now, India uses the French Ariane-5 rocket launched from Kourou in South America to place its heavy 4 tonne class of communication satellites.