The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV-Mk III, nicked named ‘fat boy’ demonstrated Isro’s capability in designing from scratch a homegrown solution for its rockets.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) successfully launched its most powerful rocket with capacity to hurl four tonne communication satellites into a higher orbit. The rocket also has the potential to carry a ten tonne capsule for a manned mission to space.

Special Correspondent

After 25 hours and 30 minutes countdown, which started on Sunday afternoon, the rocket took off from the second launch pad at Sriharikotta space port, near Chennai at 5.28 pm, as scheduled.

GSLV-MKIII is carrying a 3136 kg GSAT-19 satellite with communication transponders. The satellite will also test technologies such as miniaturised heat pipe, fibre optic gyro, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer, Ku-band TTC transponder, as well an indigenous Lithium-ion Battery.

Special Correspondent

Over 16 minutes into its flight the rocket hurled the GSAT-19 in its intended orbit.

Inside the control room, where scientists have been working day and night for weeks, it was a moment of joy. They exchanged happiness by greeting each other.

“This (GSLV-MkIII) will increase our capability to launch satellites many fold,” says A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman of Isro. “It is completely indigenous.”

GSAT-19 with a life span of 10 years is a multi-beam satellite that carries Ka and Ku band forward and return link transponders and geostationary radiation spectrometer (GRASP) to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components.

The successful launch of the GSLV Mk III - or the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III - on Monday put to rest ISRO’s concerns that had been triggered by failures of several maiden flights. Three first launches - in 1979, 1993 and 2001 - had failed.

In case of the GSLV, only five of its 11 earlier launches had been successful - some of the rest ended up in the sea.

This time, the satellite successfully carried a 3 tonne communications satellite - GSAT-19 - and placed it in the orbit. The rocket -- developed over 15 years at a cost of Rs. 300 crore -- is expected to carry astronauts to space one day, perhaps in a little more than seven years.

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