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'Fat Boy' GSLV-MK III launches today: The rocket has cost India Rs 400 cr

The mission could also pave the way for manned missions into space

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

GSLV MK-III, Isro, GSAT-19
The fully integrated GSLV Mk-III-D1 carrying GSAT-19 at the second launch pad. Photo: Isro

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Monday evening will launch its most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk III (GSLV-Mk III), and place a high-tech communication satellite in orbit.

The 25 and a half-hour countdown for the GSLV-Mk III, nicknamed ‘Fat Boy’, began at 3.58 pm on Sunday.

The propellant filling operations of L110 (Second Stage) of GSLV-Mk III-D1 were under progress in the morning. The mission is scheduled to be launched at 5.28 pm from the launchpad at Sriharikota, in Andhra Pradesh.


The rocket will deliver the 3,136-kg communications satellite at an altitude of around 179 km after just over 16 minutes into its flight. The GSAT-19, which has a life span of 10 years, will be the heaviest satellite to be launched into orbit by an Indian rocket till date. The multi-beam satellite will carry Ka and Ku band forward and return link transponders and also geostationary radiation spectrometer.

Here are five things to know about the GSLV-MkIII

1) The GSKV-Mk III is capable of launching a four-tonne satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The rocket is also capable of placing a payload weighing up to eight tonnes in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), enough to carry a manned module.

2) This is India’s first fully functional rocket to be tested with a cryogenic engine that uses liquid propellants — liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

3) It took nearly 25 years, 11 flights and over 200 tests on different components of the rocket for it to be fully realised. GSLV-Mk III is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons (S200), a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C-25).

4) The mission could also pave the way for manned missions into space. Currently, there are just three countries – US, Russia, and China – which have the capability of launching manned missions. If successful, the GSLV-Mk III — earlier called Launch Vehicle Mark-3 or LVM-3 — could be India’s vehicle of choice to launch people into space.

5) The rocket, which has about twice the capability of the GSLV-Mk II in terms of the payload it can place into orbit, weighs 640 tonnes and has cost the country an estimated Rs 400 crore. The rocket's first developmental flight will carry the satellite — developed to help improve telecommunication and broadcasting areas.

First Published: Mon, June 05 2017. 08:51 IST
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