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‘Bahubali’ GSLV Mk-3 that would put Chandrayaan-2 into elliptical earth parking orbit


New Delhi, July 12: GSLV Mk III, a three-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by ISRO, would soar towards the space with its 3,290 kilograms Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft on July 15. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (or GSLV Mk) rocket will place Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical earth parking orbit.

A parking orbit is a temporary orbit used during the launch of a satellite or other space probe. A launch vehicle boosts into the parking orbit, then coasts for a while, then fires again to enter the final desired trajectory.

GSLV Mk-3 ready for Chandrayaan-2 launch at SDSC, Sriharikota (Image courtesy - ISRO Twitter)

A series of maneuvers will be carried out to raise its orbit and put Chandrayaan-2 on Lunar Transfer Trajectory.

Chandrayaan-2: Could Helium-3 exploration be one of the objectives?

The GSLV Mk-III is the launcher chosen for the Chandrayaan-2 mission. It is a three-stage rocket developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

The vehicle has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster and a cryogenic upper stage. GSLV Mk III is designed to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is about twice the capability of GSLV Mk II.

The two strap-on motors of GSLV Mk III are located on either side of its core liquid booster. Designated as 'S200', each carries 205 tons of composite solid propellant and their ignition results in vehicle lift -off . S200s function for 140 seconds. During strap-ons functioning phase, the two clustered Vikas liquid Engines of L110 liquid core booster will ignite 114 sec after lift -off to further augment the thrust of the vehicle.

These two engines continue to function after the separation of the strap-ons at about 140 seconds after lift -off. The first developmental flight of GSLV Mk III, the GSLV-Mk III-D1 successfully placed GSAT-19 satellite to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on June 05, 2017 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. GSLV MkIII-D2, the second developmental flight of GSLV MkIII successfully launched GSAT-29, a high throughput communication satellite on November 14, 2018 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.

Chandrayaan-2: Could Helium-3 exploration be one of the objectives?

SRO will achieve many firsts with the ambitious Chandrayaan 2 mission in which India's premier space agency wants to land a lunar craft, Pragyan Rover, near Moon's south pole, unexplored territory currently. This would be world-first lunar mission to the Moon's south pole. It will also be India's first mission to the moon's surface. Chandrayaan-2 has three modules namely Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan). Orbiter and Lander modules will be stacked together as an one entity inside the launch vehicle GSLV MK-III. The lander will carry instruments like a seismometer and a thermal probe, and the rover will carry spectrometers to analyse the lunar soil.

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