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Chandrayaan 2: GSLV Mk-III, India’s mammoth rocket that will power ISRO’s Lunar mission

Ribhu Mishra
ISRO Chandrayaan 2 GSLV Mk-III

Chandrayaan 2: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) after releasing the picture of its mammoth rocket on Wednesday is all set to launch the Rs 978 crore spacecraft to the south polar region of the Moon on July 15, 2019. The spacecraft will be placed in the Earth's orbit using a ginormous launch vehicle named Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III) and then transferred into Moon's orbit. The launch vehicle will carry the spacecraft Chandrayaan 2 to its designated orbit. The GSLV Mk-III is a three-stage space launch vehicle and is considered as India's most powerful launcher to date. It is capable of launching '4-ton class of satellites' to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The components of GSLV Mk-III are S200 solid rocket boosters, L110 liquid stage, C25 upper stage.

GSLV Mk-III heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by ISRO and works in three stages. The vehicle has two solid strap-ons the s200 solid rocket boosters, a core liquid booster (L110) and a cryogenic upper stage (C25). The C25 is placed to help the vehicle to manoeuvre itself in the low-temperature zone of outer space. The launch vehicle can carry up to 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit( LEO) and up to 4 ton into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). This capacity is twice as compared to the lower model GSLV Mk-II.

Also read: Why ISRO’s Chandrayaan 2 mission to the Moon's South Polar region is a landmark step

According to ISRO the first developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III named GSLV Mk-III-D1 successfully placed the satellite GSAT-19 to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on June 05, 2017 from ISRO Sriharikota launch centre.

The three stages of the GSLV has different properties, the S200 solid rocket booster is installed on the launch vehicle to provide a huge amount of thurst required by the vehicle for the lift-off. The development of the S200 was done at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. The height and diameter of the S200 rocket booster is 25 meter and 3.2 meters respectively and it uses 205 tonnes of HTPB (nominal) rocket fuel.

The second stage, L110 liquid stage also called the core stage uses the L110 which is powered by two Vikash engines which are designed and developed at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. The height of the stage is 21 meter and its diameter is 4 meter. The liquid stage uses 2 Vikash engines and 110 tonnes of UDMH + N2O4 rocket fuel.

The third and the final stage is the Cryogenic Upper Stage of the rocket called C25. The C25 is powered by the CE-20 which is India's largest cryogenic engines and is designed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. This stage has a height of 13.5 meters and stage diameter of 4 meters. The C25 Cryogenic stage of the GSLV Mk-III uses 28 tonnes of LOX + LH2 as fuel.

Out of the total cost of ISRO's Chandrayaan 2, Rs 375 crore is just the launch cost and this gives a glimpse of the power of the launcher.