Mk III launch: Scientists excited, countdown goes on smoothly

Mk III launch: Scientists excited, countdown goes on smoothly

The launch has been scheduled at 5.28 p.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi hailed the successful launch of GSLV-MkIII-D1 and GSAT-19.

India on Monday launched a communications satellite weighing three tonnes aboard its heaviest rocket, achieving a new milestone in space technology.

The GSAT-19's launch machine GSLV Mark-III is no less in terms of weight-it weighs 640 tonnes and stands tall at 43.43 metres. Today on May 5th, researchers will blast off the GSLV-MK III which is carrying the GSAT-19 along with it from the Sriharikota at 5:28 pm.

The rocket used a cryogenic engine, developed in India after the United States leaned on Russian Federation in the 1990s not to supply such a powerful engine in case it was used for missiles.

Prior to the launch, some engineers and scientists at ISRO were nervous as most first launches of India's rockets have ended in failure. India is hoping to eventually use the GSLV Mk III to carry astronauts to space, which would make the country only the fourth nation in the world to launch their own astronauts.

India's GSLV MkIII rocket is an upgraded version of the country's GSLV rocket.

The GSLV-Mk III rocket, on its first developmental flight, slung the 3,136 kg communication satellite in a geosynchronous transfer orbit from where it would be taken up to its final geostationary orbit.

K. Sivan, another top ISRO scientist, confirmed that GSAT-19 provides much higher data rates than any existing satellite.

On June 2, the Mission Readiness Review Committee and Launch Authorisation Board had cleared the countdown for GSLV Mk-III D1/GSAT-19 mission.

The GSLV-Mark III rocket is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons, a liquid propellant core stage and a cryogenic engine (C25).

On June 5, it launched a satellite weighing 3,136 kg (6,914 lb) - the heaviest India has tried to put in orbit.

With the launch, ISRO has demonstrated its mastery in developing a cryogenic engine, a technology denied to it years ago. Meanwhile, Director of the ISRO propulsion complex, P V Venkata Krishnan described the launch vehicle as a game changer and said that the organisation had made quantum leaps when it came to hardware.