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Aug 31 2015 12:29AMRadhakrishana Rao
The successful launch of the three-stage GSLV on August 27 was a space milestone for India. By scaling up the already proven cryogenic propulsion system, ISRO will be able to launch better and bigger vehicles.
On the face of it, the August 27 successful launch of the three-stage Indian launch vehicle GSLV(Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) seems yet another routine orbital mission pulled off by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The flawless GSLV-D6 mission has helped the Indian space agency validate the performance of the domestically made critical upper cryogenic engine stage for the second time after the successful maiden test flight of GSLV equipped with an indigenous cryogenic engine stage in January 2014.
The technologically complex cryogenic propulsion system is the zealously guarded preserve of only a handful of advanced space-faring countries which are not willing to transfer the technology of this crucial rocket propulsion system. India is the sixth country in the world to have mastered the cryogenic propulsion system, which provides more thrust for every kg of fuel burnt in comparison to the solid and earth storable liquid propellants.
By successfully demonstrating the capability of the indigenous cryogenic engine stage that is driven by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen at extremely low temperatures, ISRO has overcome a major technological barrier in so far as building a domestic heavy lift launch capability is concerned. Indeed, the 630-tonne heavy lift GSLV-MKIII capable of placing a 4-tonne class satellite payload into a geostationary transfer orbit is now being subjected to a slew of qualification trials as a prelude to its maiden flight in 2016. The current Mark-II version of GSLV has been designed to orbitsatellite payload weighing upto 2.5-tonne. The message of the successful GSLV-D6 mission is that no technology, however complex and challenging it might be, is beyond India's capability to develop and deploy.