The Union Cabinet approved on Friday an increase in the estimate for developing the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III version from Rs. 2,498 crore to Rs. 2,962.78 crore.

With the project, approved by the government in 2002, the Indian Space Research Organisation will make a major leap in technological complexities from the ongoing PSLV and GSLV programmes. ISRO is planning to carry out an experimental flight in May-end with a passive cryogenic stage. The flight, which is expected to validate some new systems and flight sequences, will be followed by a developmental flight with an operational cryogenic stage in 2016-17. Another developmental flight has been scheduled for 2017-18 before operational flights are taken up.

ISRO has been hoping for an early induction of the new-generation rocket to augment India’s capacity for launching four-tonne-class communication satellites to a geosynchronous transfer orbit and thus help reduce the shortage of transponders faced by the country.

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