Popularly known as the fat boy, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk III shot into space from Sriharikota space centre from Andhra Pradesh last evening. It carried the heaviest satellite of all, weighing 3,136 kg (6,914 lb ), the GSAT-19 satellite is the heaviest India has tried to put in orbit, ISRO revealed.
With this launch, India joined the big space club alongside heavyweights Japan, China, Russia and US that have the capabilities of launching satellites weighing more than three tonnes. The Made in India GSLV-Mark III rocket got a nod of appreciation from Prime Minister Modi who has been urging ISRO to take on more space exploration missions. Congratulating the Indian space agency on this feat, he said the GSLV Mark-III/GSAT-19 mission takes India closer to the next-generation launch vehicle and satellite capability. According to Tapan Misra, Director, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, where the GSAT-19 satellite was designed, “The satellite is a game changer communications satellite for India. And it is a truly Made in India satellite that will empower our capabilities”.
Why the launch is critical to India’s success?
There was a lot riding on the successful launch of GSAT-19, that will reportedly pave the way for the launch of GSAT-11--a heavier communication satellite. Following the successful launch of this communication satellite, India can safely launch heavier, four-tonne satellites on its own rocket instead of outsourcing heavy satellite launches to foreign space agencies. With this launch, India established its position in the heavy launch market as well. According to former ISRO chairman K Kasturirangan, the man behind the idea of GSLV Mk-III, this could be India’s launch pad for sending astronauts into space.
The GSAT-19 is powered with indigenously-made Lithium-ion batteries and similar batteries can then be used to power electric vehicles like cars and buses. An ISRO press release states that after about sixteen minutes after lift-off, GSAT-19 satellite was successfully placed in orbit. The Indian space agency reveals that GSAT-19 features certain advanced spacecraft technologies such as indigenously configured fibre optic gyro, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer.