Chennai: India’s heaviest rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) is set for its maiden flight into space along with a communications satellite GSAT-19 this evening.
The countdown began at 3.58 pm on Sunday, an official of the Indian space agency said. The rocket is scheduled to be launched at 5:28 pm today.
The rocket, weighing 640 tonnes and standing 43.43 metres tall, will blast off from the second launch pad at India’s rocket port at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, around 105 km from Chennai.
It will carry a 3,136-kg GSAT-19 communications satellite the heaviest to be lifted by an Indian rocket till date to an altitude of around 179 km above the Earth after just over 16 minutes into the flight.
The mission’s success will enable India to launch four-tonne satellites on its own rocket instead of paying huge amounts of money to foreign space agencies to execute the operation.
According to ISRO, GSAT-19 with a life span of 10 years is a multi-beam satellite that carries Ka and Ku band forward and return link transponders and geostationary radiation spectrometer.
Image: Panoramic view of the GSLV-Mk III-D1 to be launched today.