ISRO launches India’s heaviest rocket GSLV-3 successfully

The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched its heaviest maiden rocket – the GSLV-3 from Sriharikota on Thursday, as its next step towards putting a man in space.

The 630-tonne, three-stage rocket Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III is the heaviest rocket to date.

ISRO has proposed that it can fly Indian astronauts into space using an indigenous rocket from Indian soil within seven to eight years of getting a government nod for its astronaut programme

ISRO has sought funding of about Rs. 12,500 crores for its human space flight endeavour. When it happens, India will become the fourth country in the world to have indigenous capability of sending humans into space; presently, Russia, USA and China are the only nations to have the necessary technology for this complex mission.

The launch is also significant as it takes with it a Crew module Atmospheric Re-Entry Experiment (CARE) mission. This is basically a capsule that will be taken above the earth’s atmosphere by the rocket, and then sent back to earth.

GSLV-3

Once ISRO masters this rocket, there may not be any need for India to send its heavy-duty communications satellites to space using expensive foreign launchers. It can also hope to make a dent in the multimillion-dollar global commercial launch market.

This was a test of ISRO’s technological success in sending a space capsule up to space and recover it and if the capsule can be brought back to earth, despite the heat conditions of over 1,600 degree Celsius that it will encounter.

It means ISRO would prove its capability to develop a capsule that can withstand harsh conditions. Such a capsule would have to be used to send up astronauts, if ISRO plans for a manned mission to space materialises in about five years from now.

Earlier this year, the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA tested its most modern crew module called Orion. Now, within a few weeks, ISRO is following up with its own version of a made-in-India crew module.

Sharanya Bharathwaj

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