ISRO to Test Fly Heaviest Rocket Module On December 18
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-Mark III), the heaviest and upgraded rocket, will test fly on December 18th, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). A tweet by ISRO said that the rocket will also carry a crew module to check out the re-entry characteristics. The rocket weighs 630 tonnes and will be powered by solid and liquid engines, whereas the cryogenic engine will be passive one.
The main aim of this mission by ISRO is to check out the characteristics of the atmosphere and how stable the rocket is on its way. The director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota has said that ISRO is also using this opportunity to check out one component of the crew module so that India can think of a human space mission at a later date.
The cost of this experimental mission to space will be Rs. 155 crores and there will be no satellite being carried because the cryogenic engine needed for this space mission is still under development. It would take two years for the engine to get ready and as the rocket engine is ready, ISRO decided to take up this space mission.
The GSLV Mark III project director S. Somanath said that this would be the new launch vehicle of India and it is a bigger and heavier one that has the capacity to carry satellites up to 4 tonnes to space. There will be no humans going in this vehicle and the crew module is just for study purposes. The main objective of the crew module is to demonstrate its re-entry flight and aero braking, and end-to-end parachute system validation.
The rocket will go up to 126 kilometres and the crew module will then detach and fall off into the Bay of Bengal after 20 minutes from the blast off. The crew module has the looks of a giant sized cup cake with black on the top and brown at the bottom. The capsule will splash down 600 kilometres from Port Blair and 1,600 kilometres from the space center. The capsule will be recovered by an Indian Navy Ship or by an Indian coast guard. The crew module will be in the size of a small bedroom and can accommodate 2 to 3 people and weighs around four tonnes.
ISRO is expecting this space mission to be a successful one and are completely prepared for the D-day launch on the 18th of December 2014.