ISRO to test ascent of GSLV-III launch vehicle and recovery of human-capable capsule in Christmas week

India’s ISRO is developing the GSLV-III launch vehicle to be able to lift payloads of 4,500 – 5,000 kgs directly into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The Indian national space agency intends to study the ascent phase of the rocket as well as the recovery of a human capsule, after it lands in the sea with a test flight during Christmas week. Such a lift capacity would allow larger communication satellites to be put into orbit or – for example – a Mars lander to be lifted or even a human-capable capsule. It would also then be able to enter the commercial satellite launch market. Later this week the Indian satellite GSAT-16 is to lift on an Ariane-5 rocket on December 5th, 2014 at 02:08 hrs (IST) from French Guiana.

GSLV-III would be comparable to the two Ariane Space heavy-lift launch vehicles

  1. The Ariane-5  with a payload capacity of 10 metric tons delivered to GTO,  or up to 20 metric tons in LEO, and
  2. The Soyuz with a payload capacity of 3,150 kg. delivered to GTO, or 4,900 kg. into SSO

ISRO: GSLV-Mk III is designed to be a three stage vehicle, with 42.4 m tall with a lift off weight of 630 tonnes. First stage comprises two identical S200 Large Solid Booster (LSB) with 200 tonne solid propellant, that are strapped on to the second stage, the L110 re-startable liquid stage. The third stage is the C25 LOX/LH2 cryo stage. The large payload fairing measures 5 m in diameter and can accommodate a payload volume of 100 cu m. Realisation of GSLV Mk-III will help ISRO to put heavier satellites into orbit.


India is also continuing with the development of a 2-man space capsule though any manned space flight is not yet budgeted for and could – at the earliest – take place during the national 5-year plan for 2017-2022.

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