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India’s ISRO Launches Heaviest Rocket, Promising Space Progress

June 5, 2017 (EIRNS)—Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the state-owned space research agency, has successfully launched the 640-ton Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III from its launching station in Sriharikota, in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh today. The rocket uses indigenous CE-20 cryogenic engines, unlike the ones made earlier, which were partly based on Russian technology.

The event is considered a major milestone in India’s fast-progressing space program, since this launch ensures ISRO’s capability to launch satellites weighing 4 tons. In fact, today’s launch carried the satellite, GSAT-19, weighing 3.14 tons, the first such Indian satellite that can provide Internet connectivity from space, First Post reported.

Launching of the GSLV Mark III is also important from two other aspects that drive India’s space program. Indian space scientists are now preparing for launching of astronauts in space by 2024 and the success of the CE-20 cryogenic engine is a step in that direction.

In addition, India is seriously contending for the multi-billion-dollar satellite launch market, because its launch costs are significantly lower than its competitors’. The GSLV-III makes India a member of the small club of heavy-lift satellite launchers. So far, only the space agencies of the United States, Russia, France, China, Japan, and Europe are capable of satellites weighing 4 tons, or more.

The successful launching of GSLV-III and placing the GSAT-19 satellite was celebrated nationwide. Congratulating the scientists and others who worked for the successful mission, ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said:

"It is a historic day. The entire team has worked since 2002. The vehicle carried the next- generation satellite. We are looking forward to getting the satellite operational."

Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director Dr. K. Sivan said,

"It is the commencement of two complex technologies—a vehicle that can carry twice the payload weight and a high-throughput satellite,"

the Times of India reported.