New Delhi: An indigenous rocket as heavy as 200 full-grown Asian elephants could well be the one taking “Indians into space from Indian soil” as the country inches closer to joining the big boy’s space club.
Standing tall on the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh is the country’s latest rocket called the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), the heaviest rocket ever made by India that is capable of carrying the heaviest satellites till now.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) enters into a bold new world muscling its way to make its mark in the world’s heavyweight multi-billion dollar launch market.
“We are pushing ourselves to the limits to ensure that this new fully self-reliant Indian rocket succeeds in its maiden launch,” ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar said.
It is the maiden experimental launch of GSLV-Mk III earlier named Launch Vehicle Mark-3, but if all goes on well in a decade or after a slew of at least half a dozen successful launches, this rocket could be India’s vehicle of choice to launch “Indians into space, from Indian soil using Indian rockets”.
This heavy lift rocket is capable of placing up to 8 tons of payload in a low Earth orbit, enough to carry India’s crew module. ISRO has already prepared plans of hoisting a 2-3 member human crew into space as soon as the government gives it a sanction of about 3-4 billion dollars.
If the human venture materialises, India would become only the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to have a human space flight programme.
The new GSLV-Mk III is an all new vehicle designed and developed in India and in 2014 a sub-orbital successful test of this vehicle was conducted to understand how it performs in the atmosphere.