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India successfully launched its communication satellite GSAT-19 with its brand new and heaviest Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III D-1 on Monday evening.
In a copy book style developmental flight, the most powerful ever rocket of the national space agency ISRO slung the satellite in a geosynchronous transfer orbit GTO.
From the GTO, the satellite would be taken up to its final geostationary orbit through remote maneuvering, which is the usual practice.
The rocket blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, precisely at 5.28 p.m. with the satellite weighing 3136 kg during lift off.
With a strong deep growl, it rose into the sky breaking free from the second launch pad.
After about 16 minutes, the 43.43 metre tall rocket, nick named as "fatty boy," injected the satellite in space.The ISRO Chairman A.S.Kiran Kumar termed the momentous occasion as historic and congratulated the scientists.
Meanwhile President and Prime Minister have congratulated ISRO for successful launch of GSLV - Mark III carrying GSAT-19 satellite.
In a tweet message to ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar, the President said the nation is proud of this significant achievement.
He said the GSLV-Mk III is the heaviest rocket ever made by India and is capable of carrying the heaviest satellites made till date.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his congratulations to the dedicated scientists of ISRO for the successful launch.
The satellite GSAT-19 has an intended life span of 10 years. It is a multi-beam satellite carrying Ka and Ku band forward and return link transponders.
It also has an experimental payload called the geostationary radiation spectrometer-GRASP, to monitor and study the nature of charged particles in space and the influence of space radiation on satellites.
The GSLV-Mk III is a three stage rocket. The first stage is fired by two strap-on motors filed with solid fuel. The second stage uses the liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic upper stage, named as the C25, which is powered by the highly complex indigenous cryogenic engine, CE20.
The number 20 denotes the 20-ton thrust it generates for the rocket to reach the intended height with the heavy mass on board.
The ISRO had flown a similar rocket without the cryogenic engine but with 3.7-tonne payload in 2014 mainly to test its in-fight structural stability and its aerodynamics.
Based on the collected data with the experimental flight, suitable improvements were made in the rocket by optimising its design features for the developmental flight today with the crucial cryogenic engine.
The resounding success of the first ever developmental flight of the 4-ton class GSLV Mark III D-1 is hailed as an epoch making event for the national space agency ISRO.
It brings the nation yet another step closer towards achieving the goal of total self reliance in satellites launch capacity.
When the rocket makes perhaps a couple of development flights more followed by a few demonstration flights, it would enable India to have three classes of launch vehicles. The polar satellite launch vehicle PSLV has already established itself as one of the world's most reliable workhorse of its class.
The 2-ton class GSLV Mark II, also known as the "naughty boy," has witnessed four consecutive successful missions including the las month's South Asia satellite launch.
The latest and more complex GSLV Mark III, popularly known as the "fat boy," would help cater to the 4-ton class heavy communication satellite launches. The next goal may be for developing vehicles meant for satellites weighing 6-ton or more, which have a stronger demand globally.