India will join an elite club of five nations in April when a rocket carrying a satellite blasts off using an indigenous cryogenic engine, an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official said.
“So far we had been using engines from Russia,” the official attached to ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) here told IANS.
An indigenous cryogenic engine will power the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for the first time, he said. The US, France, Japan, Russia and China have developed their own engines.
The satellite launch vehicle to be used next week, GSLV-D3, will carry the country’s advanced communication satellite GSAT-4. The vehicle's assembly is in final stages and the date of launch at Sriharikota will be known in a week, the VSSC official said on condition of anonymity.
According to ISRO, the 49-metre-tall GSLV-D3 rocket will have a lift-off weight of 414 tonnes. It will propel GSAT-4 into orbit about 36,000 km above the earth.
The VSSC official said arrangements were also on for the launch of another satellite vehicle, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C-15), in the first week of May.
It will carry an Algerian satellite, two Canadian satellites and a satellite from a college in Karnataka.