The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its most powerful indigenous rocket, GSLV Mk III, carrying a 3,136-kg GSAT- 19 communication satellite, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, in Andhra Pradesh, on Monday evening.
Both the GSLV MkIII, weighing 640 tonnes, and the GSAT-19 satellite with a 3,136-kg payload, are the heaviest in ISRO's space programme so far.
At 3,136 kgs the GSAT-19 satellite will be the heaviest India has attempted to put in orbit, the space agency said.
In addition to the new GSLV-Mk III, India has two rockets - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and GSLV-Mk II, capable of lifting into space 2.5 tons of cargo. However, scientists say it will take another several years to achieve this landmark.
Kiran Kumar said Modi called him and congratulated each member of the ISRO team for the successful mission.
Estimated to weigh as much as five fully-loaded Boeing Jumbo jets, or 200 fully grown elephants, the GSLV Mk-III launcher is the heaviest launch vehicle India has ever produced and considered a potential game-changer for the country's space program.
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Approved in 2002, the three-stage vehicle comes with two solid motor strap-ons (S200), a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C25)-powered by a CE-20, India's largest cryogenic engine, designed and developed by the liquid propulsion systems centre.
ISRO was not only the first to discover water on the Southern hemisphere of the moon but also the first to launch a communication satellite for the benefit of the SAARC nation earlier last month.
"This is an important moment in India's space technology to launch an indigenous heavy rocket", Ajay Lele from the Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses told AFP. In case of successful test the rocket used to launch manned spacecraft.
Successful launch of this missile will ensure a high-tech communication Indian satellite placed in orbit.
It was a textbook launch as every stage of the three-stage GSLV MkIII with indegeneous cryogenic engine performed well. India is among six nations, apart from the US, Russia, France, Japan and China, to possess cryogenic engine technology - a key frontier in rocket science. NASA and European space agencies are said to charge between Rs 10 crore to Rs 250 crore.
Isro began work on building indigenous cryogenic engine in the 1970s, though it gained momentum after Russian Federation denied transfer of technology.