The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Sunday said it was now confident of carrying heavy satellites for other countries. However, one more flight would be required before going commercial on a full-fledged basis. Speaking minutes after the successful launch of GSLV-D5, Isro Chairman K Radhakrishnan said: “After flying one more GSLV, we will be in a position to declare the rocket as commercially operational.” It might take six-12 months for the next GSLV to get ready for its mission. Communication satellites are of various tonnages and Isro’s PSLV rocket can carry up to two tonnes, which are niche satellites, he said. GSLV can carry more than tonnes. S Ramakrishnan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, said the GSLV rocket had attained maturity.
With one more mission, the GSLV would be as reliable as Isro’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Till now, Isro could send only smaller communication satellites — weighing around two tonnes. Radhakrishnan said Isro has lined up GSAT-6, 7A, 9, GISAT and Chandrayaan-2/moon mission satellites for which the GSLV would be used. GSLV-Mark III, the advanced version of GSLV, was being developed and an experimental mission was scheduled in April. “The rocket will have a passive cryogenic stage/engine. The main purpose of the mission is to study the aerodynamics and stability of the rocket.” The cryogenic engine for the next GSLV version would take around three years to be flight-ready, he added.