India Caps Breakout Year With GSLV-III / Crew Capsule Suborbital Launch

Capsule Recovery : ISRO

Although the upper stage was inert,  the launch was suborbital and the capsule was an uncrewed re-entry demonstrator, rising space power India took a major step into the future with the December 18th launch of the GSLV Mk-III booster carrying the CARE crew module. Coming on the heels of the successful arrival of its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) at the Red Planet, India has had a very good year in space.

Details are in the press release below:


Credt: ISRO

December 18, 2014

First Experimental Flight of India’s Next Generation Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk-III Successful

The first experimental flight (GSLV Mk-III X/CARE) of India’s next generation launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III was successfully conducted today (December 18, 2014) morning from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Also known as LVM3-X/CARE, this suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicle performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and thus carried a passive (non-functional) cryogenic upper stage.

The mission began with the launch of GSLV Mk-III at 9:30 am IST from the Second Launch Pad as scheduled and about five and a half minutes later, carried its payload – the 3775 kg Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) – to the intended height of 126 km. Following this, CARE separated from the upper stage of GSLV Mk-III and re-entered the atmosphere and safely landed over Bay of Bengal with the help of its parachutes about 20 minutes 43 seconds after lift-off.

Two massive S-200 solid strap-on boosters, each carrying 207 tons of solid propellants, ignited at vehicle lift-off and after functioning normally, separated 153.5 seconds later. L110 liquid stage ignited 120 seconds after lift-off, while S200s were still functioning, and carried forward for the next 204.6 seconds.

CARE separated from the passive C25 cryogenic upper stage of GSLV Mk-III 330.8 seconds after lift-off and began its guided descent for atmospheric re-entry.

After the successful re-entry phase, CARE module’s parachutes opened, following which it gently landed over Andaman Sea about 1600 km from Sriharikota, there by successfully concluding the GSLV Mk-III X/CARE mission.

With today’s successful GSLV Mk-III X / CARE mission, the vehicle has moved a step closer to its first developmental flight with the functional C25 cryogenic upper stage.

Posted in: GSLV, India Space

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  1. I actually had no idea India was this close to manned flight. So the new Indian capsule gets its first test in the same week as the first test of Orion. Any bets which one is the first to carry passengers?

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