GSLV Mark III takes to the skies in test flight

ISRO takes a step towards manned space flight

December 18, 2014 10:32 am | Updated November 27, 2021 06:56 pm IST - Sriharikota

GSLV MARK III rocket successfully blasting off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Photo: M. Prabhu

GSLV MARK III rocket successfully blasting off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Photo: M. Prabhu

The first experimental flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III registered success as it lifted off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on the dot at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, taking India much closer to realising the dream of manned space flight.

The mission control centre erupted in smiles and claps and the scientists hugged each other, as the GSLV Mark III moved a step closer to its first development flight with the functional C25 cryogenic stage.

Also known as LVM3/CARE, the suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicle’s performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and this carried a passive (non-functional) cryogenic upper stage.

The vehicle, exactly five-and-a-half minutes after take-off, carried its payload — the 3,775-kg crew-module atmospheric re-entry experiment (CARE) — to the intended height of 126 km. Two massive S-200 solid strap-on boosters, each carrying 207 tonnes of solid propellants, ignited at lift-off and separated 153.5 seconds later. The L110 liquid stage ignited 120 seconds after lift-off.

“This new launch vehicle performed very well and was a great success. We had an unmanned crew module to understand re-entry characteristics. That went off successfully and the crew module splashed as expected in the Bay of Bengal,” said Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K. Radhakrishnan from the mission control centre.

With the module gently landing in the Andaman Sea, about 1,600 km from Sriharikota, the GSLV Mk-III X/CARE mission concluded successfully. “As it made its way back into our atmosphere, the parachutes performed as per the speed that we expected,” said S. Unnikrishnan Nair, Project Director, Human Spaceflight Programme.

The former ISRO Chairman K. Kasturirangan, who was present, said, “ Every GSLV should go higher not only physically, but mentally too.”

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