ISRO’s biggest in 30 years: Powerful GSLV-MkIII launches heaviest satellite GSAT-19

ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar described the launch as a step towards “self reliance’’ for India in the launching of heavy satellites.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: June 6, 2017 8:54 am
ISRO, GSLV-MkIII, GSAT- 19, isro GSAT 19, ISO heaviest satellite, ISRO heavy satellite, Indian Space Research Organisation The GSLV Mk III, in the course of its first development flight, delivered the GSAT-19 satellite — the heaviest launched from Indian soil — to a geosynchronous transfer orbit following the launch at 5:28 pm. (Source: Twitter/ @isro)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its most powerful indigenous rocket, GSLV Mk III, carrying a 3,136-kg GSAT- 19 communication satellite, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, in Andhra Pradesh, on Monday evening. The 43.43 metre-tall GSLV Mk III is a new, improved and powerful version of the GSLV rockets developed by ISRO, and features an indigenously developed cryogenic engine which provides a huge final thrust to the rocket after the initial solid and liquid fuel engine stages.

ALSO READ: Tech denied, ISRO built cryo engine on its own

The GSLV Mk III, in the course of its first development flight, delivered the GSAT-19 satellite — the heaviest launched from Indian soil — to a geosynchronous transfer orbit following the launch at 5:28 pm. The development of the rocket will enable ISRO to reduce dependency on European rockets for launching heavy communication satellites and will help the space agency position itself as an affordable provider of space launch facilities at a time of increasing privatisation of the space launch and service business.

“GSLV Mk III D1 successfully launches GSAT 19,’’ ISRO tweeted shortly after the launch. “Cryogenic stage performance is normal,’’ it said, after reporting normal performance in the liquid L110 engine stage and the S200 solid propellant stage. ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar described the launch as a step towards “self reliance’’ for India in the launching of heavy satellites.

READ: PM Modi, President Mukherjee applaud ISRO on GSAT-19, ‘heaviest’ satellite, launch

The cryogenic upper stage in the GSLV Mk III rocket, called the C25 engine, is an improvement on C20 cryogenic engines used in the GSLV Mk II rockets which entered operational phase in September 2016, after over 25 years of development, following the successful flight of the GSLV F05 with a 2,211-kg INSAT-3DR weather satellite. Developed by ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, the C25 cryogenic engine carries more propellant (27 tonnes versus 12.5 tonnes) and higher engine thrust (19 tonnes versus 7.5 tonnes) when compared to the C20 cryogenic upper stage successfully tested on January 5, 2014. The GSLV Mk III is intended to launch heavy satellites in the four-tonne class into geo stationary orbits — a capability ISRO lacks since the basic GSLV can carry only around 2.3 tonnes.

READ: ISRO’s GSAT-19, GSAT-11 satellites set to revolutionise communications and Internet services

The C25 engine was developed indigenously by ISRO based on Russian cryogenic engines which the agency used during early phases of the development of the GSLV rockets. “Mastering this complex, high-performance cryogenic propulsion technology will go a long way in building self reliance for the Indian space programme,’’ ISRO has said with reference to the GSLV programme. The L110 liquid fuel engines — an improved version of the ISRO’s Vikas solid fuel engines — used in the second stage of the GSLV Mk III rocket are one of the heaviest earth storable liquid stages ever developed by ISRO.

The cryogenic stage on the GSLV is the third stage and uses liquid hydrogen as fuel and liquid oxygen as an oxidiser. Cryogenic stage is a highly efficient rocket stage that provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant it burns compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellant stages. The specific impulse achievable with cryo fluids is 450 seconds compared to 300 second for other fuels.

According to space scientists, cryogenic engines provide unprecedented power in terms of thrust to GSLV rockets in their final stages while keeping fuel loads on the rocket relatively low. Nearly 50 per cent of the power for GSLV rockets as they push into space comes from the cryogenic stage. India had first ventured on the path of obtaining cryogenic technology in 1992 with a two-pronged strategy of purchasing cryogenic engines from Russia and acquiring the technology from the US. Following the 1998 nuclear tests and sanctions imposed by the US on dual use technologies, the cryogenic technology was denied by the US.

ISRO used seven cryogenic engines sold by Russia for the early phase of its GSLV programme that began in 2001 while developing an indigenous technology parallelly. GSLV launches with Russian engines, including early operational flights, have had mixed success, with only two flights going perfectly to plan. The first GSLV flight with an indigenous cryogenic upper stage had failed on April 15, 2010 when a developmental flight, the GSLV-D3, failed.

In the absence of heavy lift rocket technology, India has been relying on France for launching its communication satellites. India is among six nations, apart from the US, Russia, France, Japan and China, to possess cryogenic engine technology — a key frontier in rocket science.

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  1. C
    Jun 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm
    Proud moment .Hearty congratulations to our dedicated team of ISRO. Good luck to your future endeavors.
    1. A
      Agent Soon
      Jun 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm
      I read both the Chinese n Indian site...i m so very very very amaze how Indian can brag, exagerate n blow tbeir own trumpet shamlessly small achiehment FYI info China 1st flew their own indegeniously develop Cryogenic Rocket in 1994 , now their Cryogenic Rocket are in several series already Long March 3A 3B 3C being able to lift 20 tons to built space station
      1. C
        CS VIJAYAN
        Jun 6, 2017 at 5:10 pm
        Comparison is good for thriving more levels of triumph . However every success deserves appreciation irrespective of the size of achievement .
        1. V
          Vinayak Upadhyaya
          Jun 7, 2017 at 9:42 pm
          Slow and steady wins the race .
      2. M
        Jun 6, 2017 at 3:25 pm
        Congratulations ISRO.
        1. M
          Jun 6, 2017 at 11:21 am
          Now porkies will bend over to C h I-n-Ki-Es and ask for space goats to meet their 72 hurries,----Jai hind.
          1. D
            Jun 6, 2017 at 11:08 am
            Monumental achievement. This is a pride for all non White people. Not just Indians. Hope India soon develops Commercial Jet Propulsion Technology and save close to a Trillion dollars over 10 year period.
            1. R
              Jun 6, 2017 at 6:36 am
              Manned flights are easy the USSR did this on 12 April 1961. Even China which bought 1960s model human capsules from Russia during the period of Yeltsin placed a man in space with a primitive launcher. All experts know China to this day lacks Cryogenic Space technology though they are being aided by Jewish scientists. The European Union far ahead of China in space does not seem to be to interested in Indoia. India can place three men in our own indigenous space capsule after a couple of reliable flights of GSLV Mark-3.
              1. V
                V M
                Jun 6, 2017 at 6:11 am
                It is amazing. News is about ISRO. Why grace foolish comments from hostile and jealous people. We are on verge of manned flights. Hope it comes soon. Technology from space flights will be transferable to business and prove very beneficial. Manned space flights will put us on par with 4 top nations in space technology. India was richest nation on earth for thousands of years and will again become rich. Corruption in spiritual field like worshiping nine planets whose main job is to help Mother Earth maintain her orbit around Sun, so it can feeds billions of lifeforms on Earth. Society gifted with Vedas and Bhagwat Gita should be rational, scientific and dynamic in Karm. Work is worship. Outside enemy can be defeated if internal corruption is removed.
                1. A
                  Jun 6, 2017 at 7:17 am
                  Hello Mr VM, for your knowledge outside enemy can be defeated only if India is united ! Your Sanghis are doing the opposite ! Trying to divide the country in the name of religion and trying to create enemies within the country with dirty cow politics and rules !
                  1. U
                    Jun 6, 2017 at 9:16 am
                    Muslims divided the country in 1947 on the basis of Islam! Recently Muslims committed genocide of Hindus in Kashmir and by terror expelled the Hindus as refugees! First you solve the Muslim terrorism in Kashmir state.
                  2. M
                    Jun 6, 2017 at 7:32 am
                    You Arya-brahmins are the corrupt. Remove yourselves from South Asia!
                    1. V
                      Vinayak Upadhyaya
                      Jun 7, 2017 at 9:55 pm
                      Hindus by birth are secular and that is why country with many languages , caste , religious believes are together . On the other hand christians and muslims both are rigid . There are 22 arab nations with one muslim religion and languages but can not live together . Similarly there are about 30 european countries of same religion but can not form a single nation . European union is only a economic forum not a political en y.
                    2. J
                      Joykutty Cherian
                      Jun 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm
                      It is amazing. The news is about ISRO..Heartfelt Congratulations to ISRO! Right. But you are strugg to mix it with your ideology...? If so, what about those who did it 50 years back...? US astronauts walked on Moon in 1969. Don't try to club the success of our scientists with the communal regime which rules India presently.
                    3. P
                      Prof. Ghosh
                      Jun 6, 2017 at 6:00 am
                      Mohammad Dar is most likely not a real Dar, Dar's are extremely polite and descent. His real name is Sholomo Gorenstein and he is cir cized and Jewish. We should send him to China, In China all Muslim beards are cut.
                      1. A
                        Amrik Singh
                        Jun 6, 2017 at 6:14 am
                        Prof. Ghosh you are correct Mohammad Dar does not sound to be a genuine Dar. Either he was converted forcibly into Islam or he could be Jewish posing as a Dar. Yes if he is Muslim send him to China he shall return with no beard or in Saudia where they will refer to him as a second cl Muslim and seize his passport and place him in a labor camp.
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