Ahead of its crucial and long-awaited launch in July or August, fully indigenous satellite launch vehicle GSLV-D5 is being readied to be shifted to the Sriharikota launch port by May 15, according to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan.

GSLV-D5, powered by indigenous cryogenic upper stage, is being given final touches at the Mahendragiri centre in Tamil Nadu.

GSLV-F06, launched in December 2010 and powered by a Russian cryogenic stage engine, failed. Before that, the GSLV-D3, flown with a home-grown cryogenic stage engine, also failed in April 2010.

Since then, ISRO has made many modifications and corrections in the engine. It has conducted 35 ground tests and a simulated high-altitude test till as recently as March, Dr. Radhakrishnan said in his lecture in memory of Air Chief Marshal L.M. Katre on Saturday.

An Indian GSLV that can lift communication satellites weighing up to two tonnes into orbit is badly needed to keep up the satellite capacity for different users and the country’s self-reliance in launching its own communication satellites.

Dr. Radhakrishnan said mid-June would see the launch of the first regional navigational satellite, R1A, [R one A] on PSLV-C22 rocket. After a review next week, the spacecraft would be moved to Sriharikota. This would be followed by launch of meteorology satellite INSAT-3D and advanced communication spacecraft GSAT-7 — from Kourou, French Guiana.

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