GSLV Test-Launch: A Baby Step Before the Giant Leap

GSLV Mark – III Launced

GSLV Mark – III LauncedAnother feather in ISRO’s cap, just after Mangalyan! We, Indians, are very proud as GSLV Mark – III, the heaviest and largest test rocket which carried an experimental crew module, was successfully blasted off from the spaceport in Sriharikota on Thursday morning. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated all the scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation on the launch of the rocket. The purpose was to test the capabilities to carry crew into the space.

The GSLV or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (Mark – III) was originally planned to be launched in 2009 but the programme was delayed.

The 43.43 metre tall and 630 tonne GSLV lifted off into the sky with a massive vibrating thrust. The rocket with thick orange flame on its tail rose high up in the sky with a life span of just five minutes. The huge 3.7 tonne cup cake formed crew module was ejected by the rocket at an altitude of 126 km just after five minutes of takeoff as scheduled.

Objectives of the mission

There were two objectives for this Rs 155 crore mission. The first was to test the atmospheric flight stability of the rocket which has two engines and luggage of around four tonnes. The second purpose of this mission was to carry out detailed research on the re-entry features of the Crew Module Atmospheric Re–entry Experiment, which is the name of the 3.7 tonne crew module. It will study its aero braking and the end-to-end parachute systems’ validation.

The speed being remotely controlled by the officials of the ISRO through its motors which were onboard, the crew module after the ejection at an altitude of 126 km came down towards earth and the thrusters which were onboard shut off after the module reached 80 km altitude above the earth. One of the officials of the ISRO confirmed that two or three persons can be accommodated in it which has the size of a small bedroom.

The outer temperature was 1600 degrees Centigrade after the crew module re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. It splashed down into the Bay of Bengal, around 180 km away from Indira Point, the southern tip of Andaman and Nicobor islands which was to be picked up by a naval ship. Parachutes specifically made by DRDO’s lab, Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment of Agra, helped the crew module to splash successfully into the sea. The whole country observed the first-ever action of the largest parachute.

Plan for manned spacecraft mission 

After the successful launch of the rocket, the chairman of the ISRO, K Radhakrishnan,  commented, “This was a very significant day in the history of Indian space programme for the development of the advanced launch vehicle that could carry a four-tonne class of communication satellite into orbit.”

We all remember that in the Indo-Soviet manned space mission, a joint venture, Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to reach the space, over 30 years ago.

India is now one step closer to a manned space mission with the success of the GSLV launch, which comes close on the heels of the Mars venture three months ago.

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