India Begins Coundown to Important GSLV Launch

Image Credit : ISRO

Image Credit : ISRO

India has started the countdown towards a planned Thursday liftoff of its Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, or GSLV rocket.

Scheduled at 4:52 PM India Standard Time (7:32 AM EDT) from the the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, the GSLV will be carrying GSAT-6, a 2117 kg communications satellite to geostationary transfer orbit.

The launch is the 9th overall of the GSLV, but is designated as the 5th developmental flight of the booster. It will be the third to employ the domestically built Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).

Compared to the sterling success record of the smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), with which it shares a number of components, India’s GSLV program has run into a number of obstacles, including some placed in its path as a part of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR) restrictions which saw the U.S. seek to block the transfer of cryogenic engine technology from Russia to India.

The CUS project is a direct result of those efforts, and though it has taken longer than anticipated, with India suffering five failures over its first eight launches, it has remained undaunted.

This week’s launch may indicate whether those efforts may finally be paying off. After years of frustration, India appears to have recently made significant progress in mastering the intricacies of cryogenic rocket engines. The latest flight of a GSLV equipped with the Cryogenic Upper Stage took place successfully on January 4th 2014, and on July 16th of this year, ISRO completed an 800 second test firing of its new C25 upper stage engine. Designed to increase payload capacity to 4 tonnes, it offers the potential of bringing rising space power India closer towards commercial competition with international providers like Arianespace and SpaceX.


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2 Comments on "India Begins Coundown to Important GSLV Launch"

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  1. Zed_WEASEL says:

    The launcher mention in the article is the GSLV Mark II.

    The GSLV Mark II have an interesting stack configuration. Four strapped-on hypergolic boosters with longer burn time and better ISP impulse than the mono solid motor 1st stage core. Expect early retirement of the Mark II pending the introduction of the GSLV Mark III.

    The GSLV Mark III (aka LVM3) is like comparing an Atlas II to an Atlas III. Very little in common except the name and upper stage.

    • Jay says:

      Actually not even the upper stage is the same. Its a different type of cryo engine altogether in the LVM3.

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