Today India is planning to make history. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch the first developmental flight of the biggest — but not the tallest — and heaviest rocket the country has made. Called Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, or in other words GSLV Mk 3, this rocket will lift-off at 5.28PM, carrying GSAT-19 satellite into space.

The GSLV Mk 3 weighs 640 tonnes and is 43.43 metres tall. Or you can say, this is one heavy and tall rocket. It will be launched from the second launch pad at India’s rocket port at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The purpose? Today it is carrying a big satellite but actually GSLV Mk 3 is a rocket that is expected to power India’s whole space programme, including travel of Indians into space, in the near future.

The GSLV Mk 3 is also a state-of-the-art rocket. It is arguably the most advanced rocket India has made and its successful mission today will catapult India into a list of even more elite nations that have ability to create a heavy rocket like GSLV Mk 3. No wonder it’s full of some cool technology. Here is everything you need to know about the GSLV Mk 3.

  1. GSLV Mk 3 will carry the 3,136-kg GSAT-19 communications satellite which is the heaviest satellite lifted by an Indian rocket till date. The satellite will be launched to an altitude of around 179 km above the Earth after just over 16 minutes into the flight.

  2. While in future the GSLV Mk 3 will most likely have more flights, and different name of these flights, today its flight is called GSLV Mk-III D1/GSAT-19 mission. The flight was cleared for countdown on June 2.

  3. The mission’s success will enable India to launch four-tonne satellites on its own rocket instead of paying huge amounts of money to foreign space agencies whenever there is a need to send big satellites.

  4. GSLV Mk 3 is capable of placing the 4-tonne class satellites of the GSAT series into geostationary orbits.

  5. The first experimental flight of the rocket was carried out on December 18, 2014. In the same flight ISRO also successfully tested the crew module atmospheric re-entry experiment. This is used for manned flights.

  6. The first flight of GSLV Mk 3 with human crew on board would take place after 2020.

  7. The powerful cryogenic stage of GSLV Mk 3 enables it to place heavy payloads — 8 tonnes — into Low Earth Orbits of 600-km altitude. The C25 is powered by CE-20, India’s largest cryogenic engine, designed and developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. This engine is used for the upper stage of the flight and it uses a mix of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen for fuel.

  8. The GSLV Mk 3 uses two 25 metres long S200 solid rocket boosters to help in the propulsion. This S200 was developed at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.

  9. The core stage of the flight is handled by L110 liquid stage, which actually has two Vikas engines. This Vikas engine uses hypergolic propellant as fuel. It was developed by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.

  10. The new GSLV Mk 3 at around 43 metres is slightly shorter than Mk-II version that is around 49 metres tall. “The new rocket may be slightly short but has more punch power,” a ISRO official has said.

GSLV Mk 3 live streaming

ISRO notes that GSLV Mk III-D1/GSAT-19 Mission is scheduled to be launched on June 05, 2017 at 17:28Hrs (IST) from the Second Launch Pad at SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. It will be livestreamed at ISRO’s own website at this link.  

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