India’s space program has come a long way since its inception in the 1960s. From launching its first satellite Aryabhata in 1975 to sending a spacecraft to Mars in 2014, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has achieved several milestones.
One of ISRO’s most notable achievements has been the development of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) series of rockets.
ISRO plans to include the rocket, which was developed after more than 30 years of research and development, in all upcoming deep space exploration missions, including Gaganyaan, which is expected to launch in early 2024. By launching even larger commercial satellites, the rocket is projected to be a significant source of revenue for ISRO.
What is GSLV 3 rocket?
The GSLV 3 rocket, also known as LVM3 (Launch Vehicle Mark 3), is a three-stage rocket developed by ISRO. It is designed to carry heavy payloads into space, including communications satellites and interplanetary probes.
The rocket stands at a height of 43.5 meters and has a lift-off mass of 640 tonnes and a 5-metre diameter payload fairing.
It is a heavy lift vehicle of ISRO to achieve GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit) – 4000 kg spacecraft launch capability at about 35,786 km above sea level in a cost effective manner.
The first successful launch of the GSLV 3 rocket took place on June 5, 2017, when it placed the GSAT-19 satellite into orbit and then the GSAT-29 communication satellite on November 14, 2019.
Key features of GSLV 3 rocket
The GSLV Mk-III spacecraft uses a liquid engine in its core and is equipped with two solid boosters that generate significant thrust during launch. The spacecraft’s upper stage is powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine.
What is a cryogenic engine?
The cryogenic engine uses liquid hydrogen as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidizer, which gives it a higher specific thrust than other rocket engines. This allows the GSLV 3 rocket to carry heavy payloads into space.
Another feature of the GSLV 3 rocket is its modular design. The rocket is designed in a modular fashion, meaning each stage can be replaced or upgraded independently. This makes maintaining and upgrading the rocket easier and more cost-effective.
Impact of GSLV 3 rocket on India’s space programme
The development of the GSLV 3 rocket has had a significant impact on India’s space programme. Before the development of the GSLV 3 rocket, India depended on foreign launch vehicles to place heavy payloads into orbit. Not only was it expensive, India’s capabilities in space were also limited. With the GSLV 3 rocket, India can now launch heavy payloads into space, including communication satellites and interplanetary probes.
The GSLV 3 rocket also boosted India’s space exploration capabilities. With the ability to launch heavy payloads, ISRO can now send larger spacecraft to explore other planets in our solar system. In fact, ISRO’s first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), was launched using the PSLV rocket. However, with the GSLV 3 rocket, ISRO can now send larger spacecraft to explore other planets.
Challenges faced by ISRO in developing GSLV 3 rocket
Development of the GSLV 3 rocket was not without its challenges. One of the biggest challenges faced by ISRO was the development of indigenous cryogenic engines. Cryogenic engines are a complex piece of technology that requires precise engineering and manufacturing. ISRO had to overcome several technical hurdles before successfully building the engine.
Another challenge faced by ISRO was the need for a large launch pad for larger rockets. The existing launch pad at Sriharikota was not big enough for the GSLV 3 rocket. ISRO had to build a new launch pad, which added to the cost and time required for the project.
What is the future plan of GSLV 3 rocket?
ISRO has ambitious plans for the GSLV 3 rocket. In the future, ISRO plans to use the GSLV 3 rocket to launch its first crewed mission, the Gaganyaan. The mission aims to send three Indian astronauts into space for up to seven days. The crewed mission is expected to take place in early 2024.
ISRO plans to use the GSLV 3 rocket for its upcoming lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3. The mission aims to land a rover on the lunar surface and conduct scientific experiments. The mission is expected to take place in late 2023.
Is it a game changer?
Yes. The development of the GSLV 3 rocket has been a game-changer in India’s space programme. This allowed India to launch heavy payloads into space and enhanced its space exploration capabilities. The indigenous cryogenic engine and modular design make the rocket easier and more cost-effective to maintain and upgrade. With ambitious plans for crewed missions and lunar exploration, the future looks bright for India’s space program at the heart of the GSLV 3 rocket.
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