India successfully fires heaviest launch vehicle

  • India on Monday leapfrogged into a select group of nations having their own indigenous cryogenic engine technology, when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its heaviest launch vehicle, GSLV MkIII-D1, and placed the country’s heaviest satellite till date, GSAT-19, into a precise orbit.
  • The GSAT-19, a communication satellite, expected to enhance India’s communication infrastructure, was placed into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), 16 minutes after launch, with a perigee (closest point to Earth) 170 km and apogee (farthest point from Earth) 35,975 km. It will take about two to three weeks to be placed in its intended orbit.
  • The satellite weighs 3,136 kg. This successful launch will enable India to launch 4-tonne class satellites from India. These were earlier launched from launch pads abroad.
  • ISRO has been trying to master development of an indigenous cryogenic for decades and has used indigenous cryogenic engines on earlier GSLV flights but modelled mainly on Russian design.
  • On this GSLV, no technological element was borrowed or adapted from any other space organisation.
  • The GSAT-19 carries a Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders.
  • It also carries a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components, according to ISRO.
  • Work is on to launch two approved missions — Aditya-L1 and Chandrayaan-II — in the next two years.
  • “Chandrayaan will be [launched] in the first quarter of next year, and Aditya… around 2018-19.”
  • The ‘Aditya-L1’ will be placed in the halo orbit around the ‘Lagrangian point of the Sun-Earth system, according to ISRO.

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