Thursday, December 18, 2014

India successfully launch GSLV MK3 launch vehicle

Indian Space Research Organisation successfully completed the maiden launch of its new GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle, the biggest rocket built by India, today (December 18, 2014) morning from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.

This suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicle performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and thus carried a passive (non-functional) cryogenic upper stage. 

The new launch vehicle is capable of orbiting 4 tonne class communication satellites to geo stationary orbits (GTO) at 36000 km, and will end India's reliance on the European Ariane 5 launcher.

The experimental flight designated as GSLV MK-III X, carried Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE) as its payload. The crew module is designed to test and prove technologies for manned missions.

The mission began with the launch of GSLV Mk-III at 9:30 am IST from the Second Launch Pad as scheduled and about five and a half minutes later, carried its payload - the 3775 kg 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 3 stage 630.58 ton lift off mass GSLV MK-III-X flight featured the two active S200 strapon boosters and two L110 Vikas engine as the core stage, and a passive C25 cryogenic third stage with dummy engine, as the engine is two years away from development. The C25 stage used all flight identical structures and interfaces. The cryogenic stage is the most important stage of this vehicle, as it is essential to orbit heavier satellites. 

Two massive S-200 solid strap-on boosters, each carrying 207 tons of solid propellants, ignited at vehicle lift-off and after functioning normally, separated 153.5 seconds later. L110 liquid stage ignited 120 seconds after lift-off, while S200s were still functioning, and carried forward for the next 204.6 seconds. 

CARE separated from the passive C25 cryogenic upper stage of GSLV Mk-III 330.8 seconds after lift-off and began its guided descent for atmospheric re-entry. 

After the successful re-entry phase, CARE module's parachutes opened, following which it gently landed over Andaman Sea about 1600 km from Sriharikota, there by successfully concluding the GSLV Mk-III X/CARE mission. 

The external vehicle configuration is identical to that of GSLV MK-III-D1 which is the generic vehicle configuration.

The MK3 provided a suitable altitude, velocity and flight path angle to CARE at separation.

The CARE mission tested the re-entry technologies envisaged for crew module including validating the performance of parachute based deceleration system and will enhance the understanding of blunt body re-entry aerothermodynamics and parachute deployment in cluster configuration.The CARE module has a base diameter of 3.1m and 2.7m height. Two independent chain of parachutes consisting of pilot parachute (2.3m dia); drop chute (6.2m dia), and main chute (31m) were used for final deceleration.