India took the first step on Friday, 28th March 2014 towards the experimental mission of its gigantic GSLV-Mk III (Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III) when the rocket’s core stage, weighing more than 110 tonnes, was flagged off from the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu, to Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
The GSLV-Mk III in this flight will carry a crew capsule without astronauts. The rocket will reach an altitude of less than 100 km. The capsule will return to earth with the help of parachutes. Its upper cryogenic stage will not fire. Instead of cryogenic propellants, the cryogenic stage would carry liquid nitrogen, which would be inert. The mission will take place in June or first week of July.
GSLV-Mk III is powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine. It can put a communication satellite weighing four tonnes into geo-synchronous transfer orbit or a 10-tonne satellite into low-earth orbit. It will also serve as vehicle to carry astronauts to space after initial experiments.