Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), also referred to as the Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3) is a three-stage medium-lift launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Primarily designed to launch communication satellites into geostationary orbit, it is also identified as launch vehicle for crewed missions under the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme and dedicated science missions like Chandrayaan-2. The GSLV-III has a higher payload capacity than the similarly named GSLV Mk 2.
GSLV Mk III D2 on Second Launch Pad, SDSC-SHAR
|Function||Medium-lift launch vehicle|
|Manufacturer||Indian Space Research Organisation|
|Country of origin||India|
|Cost per launch||₹375 crore (US$54 million) crore|
|Cost per year||2019|
|Height||43.4 m (142 ft)|
|Diameter||4 m (13 ft)|
|Mass||640,000 kg (1,410,000 lb)|
|Payload to LEO (600km)||10,000 kg (22,000 lb)|
|Payload to GTO||4,000 kg (8,800 lb)|
|Family||Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle|
|Launch sites||Satish Dhawan Space Centre SLP, Andhra Pradesh, India|
|Last flight||22 July 2019|
|Notable payloads||CARE, Chandrayaan-2|
|First stage – S200 Boosters|
|Length||25 m (82 ft)|
|Diameter||3.2 m (10 ft)|
|Empty mass||31,000 kg (68,000 lb) each|
|Gross mass||236,000 kg (520,000 lb) each|
|Propellant mass||205,000 kg (452,000 lb) each|
|Thrust||5,150 kN (525 tf) each|
|Specific impulse||274.5 (vacuum)|
|Burn time||128 sec|
|Second stage – L110|
|Length||21.39 m (70.2 ft)|
|Diameter||4.0 m (13.1 ft)|
|Empty mass||9,000 kg (20,000 lb)|
|Gross mass||125,000 kg (276,000 lb)|
|Propellant mass||116,000 kg (256,000 lb)|
|Engines||2 Vikas engines|
|Thrust||1,598 kN (163.0 tf)|
|Specific impulse||293 sec|
|Burn time||203 sec|
|Fuel||UDMH / N|
|Third stage – C25|
|Length||13.545 m (44.44 ft)|
|Diameter||4.0 m (13.1 ft)|
|Empty mass||5,000 kg (11,000 lb)|
|Gross mass||33,000 kg (73,000 lb)|
|Propellant mass||28,000 kg (62,000 lb)|
|Thrust||200 kN (20 tf)|
|Specific impulse||443 sec|
|Burn time||643 sec|
|Fuel||LOX / LH2|
After several delays and a sub-orbital test flight on 18 December 2014, ISRO successfully conducted the first orbital test launch of GSLV-III on 5 June 2017 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Andhra Pradesh.
GSLV MkIII launched CARE, India's space capsule recovery experiment module, Chandrayaan-2, India's second lunar mission and will be used to carry Gaganyaan, the first manned mission under Indian Human Spaceflight Programme.
ISRO initially planned two launcher families, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle for low Earth orbit and polar launches and the larger Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle for payloads to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The vehicle was reconceptualized as a more powerful launcher as the ISRO mandate changed. This increase in size allowed the launch of heavier communication and multipurpose satellites, future interplanetary exploration and will be human rated to launch crewed missions. Development of the GSLV-III began in the early 2000s, with the first launch planned for 2009–2010. The unsuccessful launch of GSLV D3, due to a failure in the cryogenic upper stage, delayed the GSLV-III development program. The GSLV-III, while sharing a name with the GSLV, it features different systems and components.
S200 static fire tests
The first static fire test of the S-200 solid rocket booster, ST-01, was conducted on 24 January 2010. The booster fired for 130 seconds and had nominal performance. It generated a peak thrust of about 500 metric tons (1,100,000 lb). A second static fire test, ST-02, was conducted on 4 September 2011. The booster fired for 140 seconds and had nominal performance. A third test, ST-03, was conducted on 14 June 2015 to validate the changes from the sub-orbital test flight data.
L110 static fire tests
ISRO conducted the first static test of the L110 core stage at its Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) test facility at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu on 5 March 2010. The test was planned to last 200 seconds, but was terminated at 150 seconds after a leakage in a control system was detected. A second static fire test for the full duration was conducted on 8 September 2010.
C25 stage tests
The first static fire test of the C25 cryogenic stage was conducted on 25 January 2017 at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) facility at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. The stage was tested for a duration of 50 seconds and had nominal performance.
A second static fire test for the full in-flight duration of 640 seconds was completed on 17 February 2017. This test demonstrated the repeatability of the engine performance along with its sub-systems, including the thrust chamber, gas generator, turbopumps and control components for the full duration. All of the engine parameters had nominal performance.
After the suborbital test flight of GSLV-III, modifications were made to the vehicle to improve performance. The propellant grain geometry of head end segment was changed to a 13-lobed star configuration from a 10-lobed slotted configuration and propellant load was reduced to 205 metric tons (452,000 lb) to improve performance during transsonic flights. The payload fairing was modified to an ogive shape, and the S200 booster nosecones were slanted to improve aerodynamic performance. The inter-tank structure of the C25 cryogenic stage was redesigned for density.
The first stage consists of two S200 solid motors, also known as Large Solid Boosters (LSB) attached to the core stage. Each booster is 3.2 metres (10 ft) wide, 25 metres (82 ft) long, and carries 207 metric tons (456,000 lb) tonnes of propellant. The S200 booster uses an HTPB based propellant. It is the largest solid-fuel booster after the Space Shuttle SRBs and Ariane 5 SRBs. The flex nozzles can be vectored using electro-hydraulic actuators and are used for vehicle control during the initial ascent phase. These boosters burn for 130 seconds and produce an average thrust of 3,578.2 kilonewtons (804,400 lbf) and a peak thrust of 5,150 kilonewtons (1,160,000 lbf) each.
The second stage, designated L110, is a liquid-fueled stage that is 21 metres (69 ft) tall and 4 metres (13 ft) wide, and contains 110 metric tons (240,000 lb) of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and nitrogen tetroxide (N
4). It is powered by two Vikas 2 engines, each generating 766 kilonewtons (172,000 lbf) thrust, giving a total thrust of 1,532 kilonewtons (344,000 lbf). The L110 is the first Indian clustered liquid-fueled engine. The Vikas engines uses regenerative cooling, providing improved weight and specific impulse compared to earlier Indian rockets. Each Vikas engine can be individually gimbaled to control vehicle pitch, yaw and roll control. The L110 core stage ignites 114 seconds after liftoff and burns for 203 seconds.
The cryogenic upper stage, designated C25, is 4 metres (13 ft) in diameter and 13.5 metres (44 ft) long, and contains 28 metric tons (62,000 lb) of propellant LOX and LH2. It is powered by the CE-20 engine, producing 200 kN (45,000 lbf) of thrust. CE-20 is the first cryogenic engine developed by India which uses a gas generator, as compared to the staged combustion engines used in GSLV.
The L110 core stage in GSLV Mk III is planned to be replaced by a kerolox stage powered by SCE-200 to increase its payload capacity to 6 metric tons (13,000 lb) to GTO. SCE-200 uses kerosene instead of UDMH as fuel and can exert a thrust of around 200 tonnes. Four of such engines can be clustered in a rocket without strap on boosters to deliver up to 10 metric tons (22,000 lb) to GTO.
Propellant load on hydrolox upper stage is planned to be increased to 30 tonnes from 25 tonnes. The first flight of the upgraded GSLV Mk III is expected in December 2020, but the SCE-200 powered version will not be used for the crewed Gaganyaan spacecraft flight.
As per a frame agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space between India and Ukraine signed in 2005, Ukraine was expected to test components of the Indian version of the engine. and will fly only after successful completion of the Gaganyaan program. So, an upgraded version of the GSLV Mk-III will not arrive before 2022.
X (Suborbital flight test)
The maiden flight of the GSLV Mk-III occurred on 18 December 2014. The flight lifted off from the Second Launch Pad, at 04:00 UTC. The test had functional boosters, a core stage and a non-functional dummy upper stage. It carried the Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) that was tested on re-entry.
Just over five minutes into the flight, the rocket ejected CARE module at an altitude of 126 kilometres (78 mi), which then descended, controlled by its onboard motors. During the test CARE's heat shield experienced a maximum temperature of around 1,000 °C (1,830 °F). ISRO downloaded launch telemetry during the ballistic coasting phase before the radio black-out to avoid data loss in the event of a splash-down failure. At an altitude of around 15 kilometres (9.3 mi; 8.1 nmi), the module's apex cover separated and the parachutes were deployed. CARE splashed down in the Bay of Bengal near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and was recovered successfully.
The first orbital flight of the GSLV-III occurred on 5 June 2017, lifting off from the Second Launch Pad at 11:58 UTC. The vehicle carried the GSAT-19 communication satellite, making it the heaviest Indian rocket and payload ever launched. The satellite was successfully placed into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) at 170 kilometres (110 mi; 92 nmi). The flight also tested upgrades to the design from data acquired during the suborbital test flight (See section on redesigns).
The first operational flight occurred on 22 July 2019, lifting off from the Second Launch pad at 9:13 UTC. The rocket carried Chandrayaan-2, India's second mission to the Moon, consisting of an orbiter, lander and a rover. The Chandrayaan-2 stack is the heaviest spacecraft launched by ISRO.
|Flight №||Date / time (UTC)||Rocket,
|Launch site||Payload||Payload mass||Orbit||User||Launch |
|X||18 December 2014
|LVM3-X||Second Launch Pad||3,775 kg (8,322 lb)||Sub-orbital||ISRO||Success|
|Sub-orbital development test flight with non-functional cryogenic stage|
|D1||5 June 2017
|Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||3,136 kg (6,914 lb)||GTO||INSAT||Success|
|First orbital test launch with a functional cryogenic stage|
|D2||14 November 2018
|Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||3,423 kg (7,546 lb)||GTO||INSAT||Success|
|Second orbital test flight. L110 core used upgraded Vikas engines with higher thrust.|
|M1||22 July 2019 09:13||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||3,850 kg (8,490 lb)||EPO||ISRO||Success|
|First operational flight of GSLV MK-III.|
|Date / time (UTC)||Rocket,
|Launch site||Payload||Orbit||User||Launch Outcome|
|Mid-2020||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||GTO||INSAT||Planned|
|mid-2020||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||GTO||IDRSS||Planned|
|December 2020||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||LEO||Human Space Flight Centre
|First uncrewed orbital demonstration flight of India's crew module.|
|July 2021||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||LEO||Human Space Flight Centre
|Second orbital demonstration flight of crew module.|
|TBA||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||GTO||IDRSS||Planned|
|TBA||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||GTO||INSAT||Planned|
|December 2021||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||LEO||Human Space Flight Centre
|India's first manned mission. Launch mass is 7,800 kg with service module, capsule's mass is 3,735 kg.|
|2023||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||TBD||ISRO||Planned|
|Launch mass is 2,500 kg; Venus orbiter and atmospheric balloon.|
|TBA||Mk.III||Second Launch Pad||TBD||ISRO||Planned|
- Comparison of orbital launchers families
- Comparison of orbital launch systems
- Gaganyaan, India's crewed orbiter
- Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle
- List of Indian satellites
- Medium-lift launch vehicle, capable of lifting between 2,000 and 20,000 kg (4,400 to 44,100 lb) of payload into Low Earth orbit
- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
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