Following the launch of Chandrayaan last year, ISRO will roll out several ambitious initiatives to consolidate the gains and build on its last year's achievements over the coming years. According to ISRO calendar the new year will mark a crucial testing phase in its development of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III, which is slated for space flight in 2010-11.
GSLV Mark III is a next generation launch vehicle designed to put four tonne satellites into orbit. But more importantly, it is expected to cut the costs of launching satellites by half, to enable Antrix Corporation, ISRO's commercial arm offer the cheapest space launches in the niche market. The current GSLV can put 2.2 tone satellites in orbit.
According to K Radhakrishnan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, the new year will see solid booster testing for Mark III. This will be followed by the liquid stage and finally the cryogenic engine stage will be tested, he added.
He said that the flight testing will be carried out duirng the 2010-11 period.
He said that with GSLV III, ISRO will be able to pack more transponders per space flight which would make for cost effective solutions, giving India an edge in the category of four tonne satellite launches.
He added that the GSLV Mark III will also help ISRO put more Indians in the manned space flight program which will be undertaken in 2015. He said that as per current plans, the agency will send two Indians on a week long space sojourn in that year.
However, instead of the regualr GSLV if GSLV Mark III is used, it will be possible to send three persons instead of two he said.
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV, is an expendable launch system developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO). Expendable launch systems derive their name from the expendable launch vehicle (ELV) they use to carry a payload into space.
Vehicles in expendable launch systems are expended during a single flight; they can, therefore, be used only once. The vehicles comprise several rocket stages, that are discarded one by one with the vehicle gaining altitude and speed.
The GSLV was developed by ISRO for launching INSAT type satellites into geostationary orbit and to lessen India's dependence on foreign rockets.