On Monday, June 5th, India successfully launched its most powerful indigenous rocket, as part of its space program, aiming to put a human into orbit one day.
The 640-tonne rocket, measuring 43 meters (140 feet), was launched at 5:28 pm (1158 GMT) from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISPRO) satellite launch site at the southern island of Sriharikota.
At the successful launch, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi posted on his Twitter account: “The GSLV – MKIII D1/GSAT-19 mission takes India closer to the next generation launch vehicle and satellite capability. The nation is proud!”
The rocket is a part of the Indian Space program and aims to reduce reliance on European engines that were used in the previous Indian spacecraft. The one employed in the GSLV Mk III rocket has been developed in India over a passage of years. The rocket carried a satellite weighing more than three tonnes into the high earth orbit, matching the payloads sent by space giants.
A France space agency CNES representative in India, Mathieu Weiss said, “They just launched the most powerful engine in India. It is a cryogenic engine, which took them 20 years to develop. Some engineers have spent their life working on this.”
The ISRO scientists have already won Asia’s race in reaching Mars in 2014, on an Indian spacecraft with an unbelievably limited budget of $73 million (NASA’s Maven Mars mission was $671 million). That is when India established itself as a country reliable for low-cost space exploration options, and they are exploring the idea of missions to Jupiter and Venus.
India already put a record 104 satellites in orbit in February using a single rocket, surpassing Russia by a large margin, which launched 39 satellites in June 2014. The rocket carried a cargo of one 714-kilogram satellite for Earth observation and 103 nano satellites, most of which were from other countries. The latest rocket has passed all the previous capabilities with the payload capacity of four tonnes, twice as much as its predecessor.
India plans to become the fourth country to send a manned spacecraft to the orbit, and ISRO says that the development would take at least seven more years as the program faces many starts and stops.