ISRO gears up for GSLV mission
After the jubilant launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), India’s space research organization ISRO is preparing for flight-testing of GSLV with indigenous cryogenic engine.
The launch is scheduled for December 15, 2013. ISRO’s maiden flight testing of the indigenous cryogenic engine and stage conducted in GSLV-D3 on April 15, 2010, failed.
In August 2013, ISRO planned GSLV-D5 but the launch was cancelled as a leak was observed in the UH25 fuel system of the liquid second stage during the pre-launch pressurisation phase on the vehicle just two hours before the scheduled lift-off.
What is GSLV?
GSLV is a three stage vehicle. It is 49 metre tall, with 414 tonne lift off weight. Its first stage comprises S125 solid booster with four liquid (L40) strap-ons. Second stage (GS2) is liquid engine and the third stage (GS3) is a cryostage.
Why cryogenic stage is important?
The cryostage is more efficient compared to the liquid stage in PSLV. This means that the thrust developed by burning each kg of propellant is higher in cryo engine, hence can place larger payloads with higher weight into orbit. This stage is crucial for a launcher with higher payload capacity.
How GSLV has advantage over PSLV?
The main limitation of PSLV is its inability to launch heavy satellites of the weight of 2000 kg or above. PSLV is capable of launching 1600 kg satellites in 620 km sun-synchronous polar orbit and 1050 kg satellite in geo-synchronous transfer orbit (GTO). On the other hand, the GSLV is capable of launching satellites which are 2000 kg – 2500 kg which matches with the GSAT class of Communication satellites.
Currently, India is dependent on outsourcing the heavy launch vehicles from abroad which is not a cost effective solution. We want to develop our own GSLV launcher to become self-reliant in the launch capability. Success in launching GSLV will bring India into a elite group of nations who possess this technology.
Which are countries who possess Cryogenic Engine technology?
At present only five countries viz. United States, Russia, France, Japanand China have the cryogenic engine upper stage technology to launch heavier satellites in geostationary orbit. India is the sixth country to design and develop the cryogenic technology.