ISRO Chandrayaan 2 Misson successful : India’s second moon mission, #Chandrayaan2, launched on 22 July, from the Satish Dhawan Space Station in Sriharikota, after the initial launch was delayed on Monday, 15 July, due to a technical snag in the GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle.
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GSLV Mk-III rocket will be used to launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission
The GSLV Mk-III will also be the launch vehicle for a future manned space mission
The GSLV Mk-III is the most powerful rocket developed by Isro
Fat Boy and Bahubali. Those are the two nicknames given to the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, or the GSLV Mk-III, the biggest and most powerful rocket in India’s space garage. On July 15, Monday, the GSLV Mk-III will launch off the Bay of Bengal coast, carrying with it an ambitious dream of placing a rover on the Moon.
The GSLV Mk-III is the launcher chosen for the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which aims to land a rover on the Moon’s south polar region, a feat not previously achieved by any other country. Only three countries have landed rovers on Moon — the US, Russia and China — but none have gone where India hopes to with its Chandrayaan-2 mission.
The GSLV Mk-III is a three-stage rocket developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro). The rocket first flew an experimental flight in 2014 and since then, the GSLV Mk-3 has been on two development flights; on both the occasions the ‘Fat Boy’ rocket placed satellites into orbit.
Fun fact: ‘Fat Boy’ was the nickname chosen by Isro’s scientists for the GSLV Mk-3. However, the Telugu media began referring to the rocket as Bahubali, after the muscular hero of the eponymous fantasy Telugu film trilogy.
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III is a three-stage rocket:
The first stage consists of two strap-on tanks fitted to the either side of the rocket. The tanks contain solid fuel that is burnt, providing the initial thrust to fly the rocket out of Earth’s atmosphere. The strap-on tanks remain functional for 140 seconds after launch.
The second stage consists of the core booster that ignites 114 seconds after lift-off. The core booster burns liquid fuel and is the primary source of thrust after the strap-on tanks detach from the rocket and fall back to the Earth at around 140 seconds after launch.
The final stage is a cryogenic engine installed in the top part of the GSLV Mk-III. The cryogenic upper stage provides the last-mile thrust after the liquid core booster separates from the rocket.
The GSLV Mk-III is a three-stage rocket (Click to enlarge)
The Chandrayaan-2 mission will be the most high profile mission flown by the GSLV Mk-3. The mission is especially crucial for the GSLV Mk-III series as it will establish the rocket’s space-worthiness that will be really tested in the coming years.
The Chandrayaan-2 mission is just the first of several ambitious projects that will be serviced by the GSLV Mk-III rocket.
The GSLV Mk-III is the chosen launch vehicle for Isro’s highly ambitious mission to send humans to space. Under the Gaganyaan mission, Isro aims to send three Indians to space on an Indian spacecraft flying on an Indian rocket, i.e. the GSLV Mk-III.
An Indian — Rakesh Sharma — has in fact been to space. However, he flew as a cosmonaut onboard a Russian spacecraft. Here’s the timeless video of a conversation between then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Rakesh Sharma in space:
The GSLV Mk-III will also result in savings for India as it would arm Isro with the ability to launch heavier satellites. The GSLV Mk-II — the second-most powerful Indian rocket after the GSLV Mk-III — for example can carry payloads of up to 2,200 kg. The GSLV Mk-II, on the other hand, can carry up to 4,000 kg.
Currently, India has to depend on foreign space agencies or vendors to launch extremely heavy satellites (mostly those meant to support communications). The GSLV Mk-III would do away with that need.
All eyes right now are on the ‘Spaceport of India’ — the Satish Dhawan Space Center on the Sriharikota island off the Bay of Bengal coast. At a launch pad there, a GSLV Mk-III rocket currently sits with a payload that includes a rover named Pragyaan.
The GSLV Mk-III with the Chandrayaan payload at the launch pad in Sriharikota (Photo: Twitter/Isro)
Pragyaan is the centrepiece of the Chandrayaan-2 mission — Isro aims to land Pragyaan on the Moon’s south polar region, where it will conduct surface and sub-surface experiments.
The Chandrayaan-2 mission consists of three components:
The orbiter, which, like the name suggests, will orbit the Moon. The orbiter’s mission will last for around a year and it will study the outer atmosphere of the Moon.
The lander, named Vikram, which houses the rover Pragyaan. Sometime in September, Vikram will detach from the orbiter and attempt a ‘soft’ lan