Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh) Sept. 8: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Thursday scored a major success when its GSLV-F05 rocket, powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine, successfully launched a two-tonne class meteorological satellite, the INSAT-3DR, into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
This is the third successive launch powered by an indigenous cryogenic stage, one of three engines on the GSLV rocket, the other two being solid and liquid-fuelled stages.
The rocket lifted off at 4.50 pm, after Isro delayed the launch by 40 minutes due to an 'anomaly' it found at the last minute.
The GSLV-F05 rose into sky with a deep growl, breaking free from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The 49.1 metre tall rocket, weighing 415.2 tonnes, rapidly rose towards the sky, spewing a thick orange plume.
The rocket helped put the INSAT-3DR satellite, a weather satellite that can also aid in search and rescue (SAR) operations, into GTO around 17 minutes into the flight.
The GSLV is a three-stage rocket. The first stage is fired by a solid-fuel motor, with four strap-on liquid-fuelled boosters. The second is powered by liquid fuel and the third is the Isro-developed cryogenic engine.
ISRO is perfecting the crucial cryogenic engine technology to save precious foreign exchange by launching heavier satellites on its own.
ISRO has so far relied on the European Space Agency's Ariane rocket to launch its heavy communication satellites.
India pays around Rs 500 crore ($75 million) as the launch fee for sending up a 3.5 tonne communication satellite. The satellite cost is separate.
ISRO can now launch satellites weighing around 2-2.5 tonnes till such time it readies an advanced GSLV variant -- GSLV-Mark III -- that can lug satellites weighing around four tonnes.
(with IANS inputs)