Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III

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GSLV - Mk III (LVM3)[1][2]
GSLV mk-3 sub-orbital experiment test flight from Satish Dhawan Space Centre
Function Mid-Heavy lift launch vehicle
Manufacturer Indian Space Research Organisation
Country of origin India
Height 43.43 m (142.5 ft)[1]
Diameter 4.0 m (13.1 ft)
Mass 630,580 kg (1,390,190 lb)[1]
Stages 3
Payload to
LEO (600 km)
8,000 kg (18,000 lb)[1]
Payload to
4,000 kg (8,800 lb)[1]
Launch history
Status Launch Rehearsal[3]
Launch sites Satish Dhawan Space Centre SLP, Andhra Pradesh, India
Total launches 1 (2 stage version)
Successes 1 (2 stage version)
First flight 18 December 2014 (2 stage version; sub-orbital flight)
2016 (full version)
Booster Stage - S-200
Length 25.75 m (84.5 ft)[1]
Diameter 3.2 m (10 ft)[1]
Empty mass 31,000 kg (68,000 lb)
Gross mass 238,000 kg (525,000 lb)
Engines 2 Solid
Thrust 5,150 kN (525 tf) each[4][5][6]
Specific impulse 274.5 (vacuum)[1]
Burn time 130 sec[1]
Fuel HTPB[1]
Core Stage - L-110
Length 21.26 m (69.8 ft)[1]
Diameter 4.0 m (13.1 ft)[1]
Empty mass 10,600 kg (23,400 lb)
Gross mass 125,600 kg (276,900 lb)
Engines 2 Vikas
Thrust 1,598 kN (163.0 tf)[1][7][8]
Specific impulse 293 sec[1]
Burn time 200 sec[1]
Fuel UH 25/N2O4[9]
Upper Stage - C-25
Length 13.32 m (43.7 ft)[1]
Diameter 4.0 m (13.1 ft)[1]
Empty mass 3,300 kg (7,300 lb)
Gross mass 18,300 kg (40,300 lb)
Engines 1 CE-20
Thrust 186 kN (19.0 tf)[1]
Specific impulse 450 sec
Burn time 720 sec[1]
Fuel LOX/LH2

The GSLV-III or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (Hindi: भूस्थिर उपग्रह प्रक्षेपण यान एमके-३; also called LVM3)[2] is a launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

It is intended to launch satellites into geostationary orbit and as a launcher for an Indian crew vehicle. The GSLV-III features an Indian cryogenic third stage and a higher payload capacity than the current GSLV.[10][11]


Development for the GSLV-III began in the early 2000s, with the first launch planned for 2009-2010.[12] Several factors have delayed the program, including the 15 April 2010 failure of the ISRO-developed cryogenic upper stage on the GSLV Mk II.[12]

A suborbital flight test of the GSLV-III launcher, with a passive cryogenic third stage, was successfully carried out on 18 December 2014, and was used to test a crew module on a suborbital trajectory.[13] The first orbital flight is planned to take place in 2016.[14] The first flight with a crew on board would take place after 2020.[12]

S-200 Static test[edit]

The S-200 solid rocket booster was successfully tested on 24 January 2010. The booster fired for 130 seconds and generated a peak thrust of about 500 tonnes. Nearly 600 ballistic and safety parameters were monitored during the test and indicated normal performance. A second successful static test was conducted on 4 September 2011.[5]

L-110 Static test[edit]

The Indian Space Research Organisation 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. Originally targeted for a full 200 second burn, the test was terminated at 150 seconds after a leakage in a control system was detected.[15] On 8 September 2010 ISRO successfully conducted a full 200 second test.[16]

Suborbital flight test[edit]

The GSLV-III lifted off from the second launch pad, Sriharikota, at 9.30 am IST on 18 December 2014. The 630.5 tonne rocket had two active solid and liquid propulsion stages (S 200 and L110 respectively) in addition to its cryogenic engine C 25 X (which was in a passive state). The sole payload was an unmanned Crew Module. GSLV-III has the capability to launch its heavier INSAT class satellites and manned missions to space. The main purpose of this mission, however, is to test the atmospheric flight stability of the rocket with around four tonnes of payload.

Crew module reentry[edit]

Just over five minutes into the flight, the rocket ejected the cup-cake shaped 3.7-tonne Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) at an altitude of 126 km. CARE then descended at high speed. The speed was controlled by remotely manipulating its onboard motors till it reached an altitude of 80 km. From here the ballistic re-entry into the atmosphere began while the onboard thrusters were shut down. CARE’s heat shield was expected to experience a temperature of around 1600 °C. At an altitude of around 15 km, 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[17][18][19]

Vehicle description[edit]

Stage 1 – solid boosters[edit]

The GSLV-III uses S-200 solid motors, also designated Large Solid Boosters (LSB). Each booster has a diameter of 3.2 metres, a length of 25 metres, and carries 200 tonnes of propellant. These boosters burn for 130 seconds and produce a peak thrust of about 5,150 kilonewtons (525 tf) each.[4]

A separate facility has been established at Sriharikota to make the S200 boosters. Another major feature is that the S200’s large nozzle has been equipped with a ‘flex seal.’ The nozzle can therefore be swivelled when the rocket’s orientation needs correction.[20]

Stage 2 – liquid motor[edit]

The core stage, designated L-110, is a 4-meter-diameter liquid-fueled stage carrying 110 tonnes of propellant. It is the first Indian liquid-engine cluster design, and uses two improved Vikas engines, each producing about 700 kilonewtons (70 tf)[7][8] of thrust and burning UH 25 (75%UDMH, 25% hydrazine) and N2O4.[9] The improved Vikas engine uses regenerative cooling, providing improved weight and specific impulse, compared to earlier rockets.[21] The L-110 core stage ignites 113 seconds after liftoff and burns for about 200 seconds.[8]

In flight, as the thrust from the S200 boosters begins to tail off, the decline in acceleration is sensed by the rocket’s onboard sensors and the twin Vikas engines on the ‘L110’ liquid propellant core stage are then ignited. Before the S200s separate and fall away from the rocket, the solid boosters as well as the Vikas engines operate together for a short period of time.[20]

Stage 3 – cryogenic upper stage[edit]

The cryogenic upper stage is designated the C-25 and will be powered by the Indian-developed CE-20 engine burning LOX and LH2, producing 20 tonnes-force (200 kN) of thrust. The C-25 will be 4 metres (13 ft) in diameter and 8.2 metres (27 ft) long, and contain 25 tonnes of propellant.[21]

This engine is slated for completion and testing by 2015, it will then be integrated with the C-25 stage and be put through a series of tests. The first C-25 stage will be used on the GSLV-III D-1 mission in early 2017. This mission will put in orbit the GSAT-19E communication satellite.[22] Work on the C-25 stage and CE-20 engine for GSLV Mk-III upper stage was initiated in 2003, the project has been subject to many delays due to problems with ISRO's smaller cryogenic engine, the CE-7.5 for GSLV MK-II upper stage.

Payload fairing[edit]

The payload fairing has a diameter of 5 metres (16 ft) and a payload volume of 110 cubic metres (3,900 cu ft).[1]

Scheduled launches[edit]

Flight Launch date/time (UTC) Variant Launch Pad Payload Payload Mass Result Note(s)
X 18 December 2014
LVM3-X Second Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) 3,775 kg[24] Success Sub-orbital development test flight[25][26][27]
This flight carries a non functional version of the cryogenic upper stage C-25 to simulate its weight and attributes.[20][28]

The launch of LVM3 vehicle on 18 December was successful, with both the launch vehicle and the CARE module meeting the parameters of the mission.[2]

D1 Early 2017 Mk III Second GSAT-19E 3,500 kg[28] For launching new generation GSAT weighing about 3.5MT.[22][28][29]
Will have the fully functional cryogenic stage.[28]

Comparable rockets[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "LVM3". Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "ISRO successfully launches GSLV Mark-III, India's largest rocket] The Hindu". Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "GSLV Mark-III launch rehearsal to begin tonight". Science and Technology Section. The Times of India. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b ISRO Press Release: S200 First Static Test (S-200-ST-01)
  5. ^ a b "Isro successfully tests world's 3rd largest solid booster". dna. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "India to test world's third largest solid rocket booster". Science and Technology Section. The Hindu News Paper. 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  7. ^ a b "GSLV Mk3". Space Launch Report. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "L110 test to follow S200". IndianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "ISRO tests Vikas engine". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Indian Space Research Organisation preparing for three more PSLV launches". English: The Hindu. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  11. ^ GSLV MkIII, the next milestone : Interview: K. Radhakrishnan Frontline 7 February 2014
  12. ^ a b c "India's GSLV Mk-3 First Flight Pushed Back to April 2014". Sawfnews. 4 April 2013. Archived from the original on 10 April 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "ISRO inches closer to manned mission". 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-01-10. We will be checking the crew capsule for all parameters. 
  14. ^ "Now, ISRO Well on Course to Test Giant Rocket GSLV Mk-III". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "ISRO successfully conducts static testing of new age rocket". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  16. ^ ISRO Press Release:Successful Static Testing of L 110 Liquid Core Stage of GSLV - Mk III
  17. ^ As it happened: Isro's launch of India's heaviest rocket Times of India 18 December 2014
  18. ^ Sangeetha Kandavel. "GSLV Mark III takes to the skies in test flight". The Hindu. 
  19. ^ "Isro to test GSLV Mk-III, crew module on December 18". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  20. ^ a b c N. Gopal Raj. "GSLV Mark III faces its first experimental flight". The Hindu. 
  21. ^ a b LVM3 ISRO 23 December 2014
  22. ^ a b Anil Wanvari. "India has 833 private TV channels". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "GSLV Mk-III: ISRO successfully test flies its heaviest rocket". The Economic Times. New Delhi. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  24. ^ "First Experimental Flight of India's Next Generation Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk-III Successful". 18 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  25. ^ "GSLV MkIII to launch Isro’s next mission". Hindustan times. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  26. ^ "India cracks cryogenic jinx as GSLV takes off". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  27. ^ "Mars conquered, Isro gears up for more". Hindustan Times (New Delhi). 24 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  28. ^ a b c d GSLV Mark-III set for partial test flight The Hindu 2 November 2014
  29. ^ "GSLV-D5 Twin may be Launched This Year". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 

External links[edit]