The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be launching the heaviest rocket ever made by India, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk- III) on 5 June 2017.
The rocket, called the ‘Fat Boy’, reportedly weighs as much as 200 full-grown Asian elephants. It is not only capable of carrying the heaviest satellites but it could also enable India to send manned missions to space, making it only the fourth nation in the world to be able to do so.
Presently, only three countries—US, Russia and China—have the capability of sending manned missions to space.
• The rocket is called fat boy, as it is the country's heaviest (weighing 640 tonnes) but smallest rocket (43 metres).
• It will have a new and advanced indigenous cryogenic engine to lift it off to the geostationary orbit.
• It will help India become self-reliant for launching satellites as it would be capable of placing 4-tonne class geosynchronous satellites into orbit.
• ISRO is prepared to launch the new vehicle after conducting over 200 tests on its various components.
• The launch vehicle made its first test flight on 18 December 2014, as the LVM3-X/CARE mission from Sriharikota, Barrier Island located off the coast of Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh.
Main features of GSLV Mk- III
• It is 43.43 metres in height, 4 metres round and has a lift-off mass of 640 tonnes.
• Unlike GSLV Mk II, which can only place 2 tonne class of satellites in space, GSLV Mk III will be able to place 4-tonne class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits.
• The indigenous cryogenic stage LVM 3 placed in the satellite also makes it capable of placing heavy payloads into Low Earth Orbits of 600 km altitude.
• The vehicle’s new indigenous cryogenic engine is India’s largest cryogenic engine that has been designed and developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre of ISRO.
• A cryogenic engine provides more thrust for every kilogram of cryogenic propellant (liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen) that it burns.
• It can store 27 tonnes of such propellant, with a thrust of 186 kiloNewton.
• The LVM 3 also has two Solid Rocket Boosters, S200, which will provide a huge thrust that is required for the lift off. They require a burn time of 130 seconds and have a thrust of 9316 kilo Newton.
Further, though the launch vehicle enables a manned mission, it wouldn’t be possible until ISRO gets a final approval from the government.
ISRO is currently focussed on meeting the nation’s demand of launching more satellites in the orbit in the field of communication, remote sensing and navigation. To make the same possible, the space research organisation is increasingly focused on expanding India’s launch capacities both in lower and geostationary orbits and to make their launches cost-effective.