Indian space programme today attained a new height when the experimental flight of its heaviest rocket GSLV-Mark-III successfully launched an unmanned crew module, which later splashed down in the Bay of Bengal as expected.
Scientists at the Mission Control Centre in Sriharikota jumped up in joy as the crew module got detached from the Launch Vehicle and descended into the Bay of Bengal, 600 km from Port Blair, where the Indian Coast Guard was stationed to retrieve it.
The success of this mission was all the more significant as it gave a big boost to ISRO’s plans for a full-fledged launch in two years and realise India’s dream of sending its astronauts into space.
Addressing scientists at the Mission Control Centre, a delighted ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan, said this is a very significant day in the history of Indian space programme for the development of advanced launch vehicle that will carry heavier satellites weighing 4 to 5 tonnes.
GLSV-Mk III Project Director S Somnath said, the payload capability has been significantly enhanced with the successful launch of India’s powerful rocket. He said, the success gives greater confidence to put heavier satellites in orbit.
The 42.4 metre tall GSLV-Mark III, with a lift off weight of 630 tonnes, took off majestically from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre as scheduled at 9.30 AM. The entire mission, starting from lift off to the splashing down of the Crew Module in the Bay of Bengal, lasted 20 minutes. The Crew Module resembled a giant cup cake and weighs about four tonnes.
It has enough space to accommodate three people and approximately the size of a small bedroom. GSLV Mk III has been conceived and designed to make ISRO fully self reliant in launching heavier communication satellites of INSAT-4 class, which weigh 4,500 to 5,000 kilograms. It would also enhance the capability of the country to be a competitive player in the multi-million dollar commercial launch market.