Tag Archives: GLSV

GSLV Mk-III X : First Experimental Flight Successful


The first experimental flight of India’s next generation launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III was successfully conducted on December 18, 2014 morning from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Also known as LVM3, this suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicle performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and this carried passive (non functional) cryogenic upper stage.


The mission began with the launch of GSLV Mk-III at 9:30 am IST as scheduled and about 5.4 minutes later, carried its payload – the 3.8 ton Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) – to the intended height of 126 km. Following this, CARE separated from the upper stage of GSLV Mk-III and re-entered the atmosphere and safely landed over Bay of Bengal with the help of its parachutes about 20 minutes 43 seconds after lift-off.

The total budget of the experimental mission was Rs 155 crore, including the crew module, which cost Rs 15 crore. A few years back Isro had carried out a similar experiment, Space-capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE), on a smaller scale by PSLV in which the module had orbited around the earth for 15 days before entering back.


With this successful GSLV Mk-III X / CARE mission, the vehicle has moved a step closer to its first developmental flight with the functional C25 cryogenic upper stage. It will be the ISRO’s most powerful rocket, capable of putting four-tonne communication satellites into orbit. This launch was also an early test of a crew module being developed for human space flight.


GSLV Mark III – Its First Experimental Flight


In the month of December 2014, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III is expected to lift off for the first time from Sriharikota on an experimental flight that will assess the rocket’s performance. It will be the ISRO’s most powerful rocket, capable of putting four-tonne communication satellites into orbit. The forthcoming launch will also provide an early test of a crew module being developed for human space flight.

During the 1990s, it became clear that a new launcher was needed to meet the country’s requirements for heavier communication satellites with large numbers of transponders. Rs. 2,498 crore project for developing the GSLV Mark III was approved by the Government in May 2002


The GSLV Mark III is a three stage launch vehicle. It has two huge solid propellants boosters as first stage, flanking a big liquid propellant core as second stage and a cryogenic upper stage. The GSLV Mark III has just four propulsion modules while its predecessor, the GSLV, has seven, which is crucial for increasing the rocket’s reliability and reducing launch costs.

While the solid booster and the liquid propellant core stage completed ground tests and were qualified for flight about three years back, development of the cryogenic engine for the Mark III’s upper stage is still in progress. For the experimental launch, the Mark III will be equipped with a dummy cryogenic engine and stage that will simulate the weight and other characteristics of the flight version.

The rocket will give the crew module a velocity of 5.3. km/second before it separates at a height of about 125 km. The capsule will then descend and splashdown in the Bay of Bengal, about 600 km from Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.

The GSLV Mark III is more sensitive than the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the current GSLV to disturbances that might occur as it accelerates through the dense atmosphere. The ability of the rocket’s control systems to effectively handle such perturbations without violating the vehicle’s structural capabilities will be tested during the experimental flight.

According to ISRO, the first developmental flight of the GSLV Mark-III, with a functional cryogenic engine and stage, could take place in two years’ time.