By Prarthana Mitra
ISRO launched Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III-D2, abbreviated as GSLV-Mk III-D2 from the Sriharikota spaceport at 5:08 PM Wednesday evening, successfully placing another communication satellite in earth’s orbit.
Breaking past records
Billed as India’s heaviest rocket, the 43.4-metre rocket GSLV- Mk III-D2, nicknamed Baahubali, weighs around 640 tonnes, and carries the communication satellite GSAT-29 that alone is about 3,423 kg. The three-stage/engine rocket comprises a core liquid fuel booster in the second stage and an indigenous cryogenic engine in the third. Besides, the GSLV-Mk III has two strap-on motors powered by solid fuel, and is equipped to carry a four-tonne satellite.
The second developmental flight (and thus the D2 in the abbreviated name) launched with dense orange flames as it tore away from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC).
A similar rocket carried and launched ISRO’s GSAT-19 satellite in 2017, while another rocket was sent to orbit the Earth in 2014 as a test run, with a 3.7-tonne dummy payload. India’s two fully operational rockets at the moment include the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and GSLV-Mk II which set a record in 2010 for its lift off capacity of 415 tonnes, and a carrying limit of 2.5 tonnes. In terms of in-flight structural stability and aerodynamics, however, GSLV-Mk III is superior, and serves an important role in India’s missions around advanced satellites and optical communication.
All you need to know about GSAT-29
Within 17 minutes of its ascent, the rocket catapulted the GSAT-29 to its intended transfer orbit, at an altitude of around 207 km from the earth’s surface. A few days later, the satellite will be placed in its final geostationary orbit.
According to spokespersons at ISRO, GSAT-29 was designed to keep vigilance from the exosphere for a mission life of 10 years, with the help of a geo-high resolution camera. The multi-beam satellite, carrying advanced high throughput communication transponders of Ka/Ku-band, is intended for meeting the parameters required to establish communication of users in remote areas.
Several new technologies such as Q/V-band payload, and data transmission through optical communication link will be demonstrated via GSAT-29, which in turn will help realise futuristic advanced satellites, according to a statement from the Indian space agency.
The successful launch of Baahubali gives ISRO a huge boost before the manned space flight mission in 2022 and the upcoming Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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