Sriharikota: ISRO’s heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) blasted off from Sriharikota, over 100 km from Chennai, on Wednesday carrying India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-29 onboard.
The 27-hour countdown for the launch began at 2.50pm on Tuesday. Precisely at 5.08 pm the GSLV-Mk III rocket on its second developmental flight began its ascent with a strong deep growl that reverberated like a thunder roll breaking free from the second launch pad here at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC). The 43.4-metre rocket weighing about 640 tonne rushed to the blue skies with thick orange flame at its rear.
The 3,423 kg GSAT-29 carries Ka and Ku band high throughput transponders intended to meet the communication requirements of users, including in the North East and in Jammu and Kashmir.
On Wednesday, just over 16 minutes into its flight the rocket will sling the GSAT-29 at its intended orbit at an altitude of around 207 km. The satellite is scheduled be injected into a geosynchronous orbit, 18 minutes after lift-off.
The GSLV-Mk III with a capacity to carry four-tonne satellite, is a three-stage/engine rocket with two strap-on motors powered by solid fuel. The second stage is a core liquid fuel booster and the third is the cryogenic engine.
In addition, several new technologies such as Q/V-band payload, data transmission through optical communication link will be demonstrated. This will help in realising future advanced satellites, ISRO said.
The satellite also carries a geo-high resolution camera.
Cyclone Gaja had clouded the launch plans but with it changing course and conducive weather conditions prevailing, the rocket blasted off on schedule.
The Indian space agency had flown a similar rocket on June 5, 2017, with GSAT-19 satellite. Prior to that ISRO had flown another rocket with 3.7-tonne dummy payload in 2014 to test its in-flight structural stability and aerodynamics.
India currently has two fully operational rockets — the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and GSLV-Mk II — with a lift-off mass of 415 tonnes and a carrying capacity of 2.5 tonnes.
(With agency inputs)