Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III

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Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III[1][2]
An artist's rendering of the GSLV Mk.III
Function Medium-lift launch vehicle
Manufacturer Indian Space Research Organisation
Country of origin India
Cost per launch ₹300-400 crore (approx. $46-62M) [3][4]
Height 43.498 m (142.71 ft)[5]
Diameter 4.0 m (13.1 ft)
Mass 640,000 kg (1,410,000 lb)[1]
Stages 2
Payload to LEO(600km) 8,000 kg (18,000 lb)[1]
Payload to GTO 4,000 kg (8,800 lb)[1]
Associated rockets
Family Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle
Launch history
Status Active
Launch sites Satish Dhawan Space Centre SLP, Andhra Pradesh, India
Total launches 2
Successes 2
Failures 0
First flight
  • 18 December 2014 (suborbital)
  • 5 June 2017 (orbital)
Last flight 5 June 2017
Boosters – S200
No. boosters 2
Length 25 m (82 ft)[1]
Diameter 3.2 m (10 ft)[1]
Empty mass 31,000 kg (68,000 lb) each[6]
Gross mass 236,000 kg (520,000 lb) each[6]
Propellant mass 205,000 kg (452,000 lb) each[6]
Motor Solid S200
Thrust 5,150 kN (525 tf) each[7][8][9]
Total thrust 10,300 kN (1,050 tf)
Specific impulse 274.5 (vacuum)[6]
Burn time 128 sec[6]
Fuel HTPB[6]
First stage – L110
Length 21.39 m (70.2 ft)[10]
Diameter 4.0 m (13.1 ft)[6]
Empty mass 9,000 kg (20,000 lb)[10]
Gross mass 125,000 kg (276,000 lb)[10]
Propellant mass 116,000 kg (256,000 lb)[10]
Engines 2 Vikas engines
Thrust 1,598 kN (163.0 tf)[6][11][12]
Specific impulse 293 sec[6]
Burn time 203 sec[10]
Fuel UDMH / N2O4
Second stage – C25
Length 13.545 m (44.44 ft)[6]
Diameter 4.0 m (13.1 ft)[6]
Empty mass 5,000 kg (11,000 lb)[10]
Gross mass 33,000 kg (73,000 lb)[10]
Propellant mass 28,000 kg (62,000 lb)[6]
Engines 1 CE-20
Thrust 200 kN (20 tf)[6]
Specific impulse 443 sec
Burn time 643 sec[6]
Fuel LOX / LH2

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III(Hindi: भू-तुल्यकाली उपग्रह प्रक्षेपण वाहन एमके-३; IAST: Bhū-Tulyakāli Upagrah Prakṣepaṇ Vāhan MK-3, also referred to as the Launch Vehicle Mark 3, LVM3 or GSLV-III)[2] is a launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[13][14] ISRO successfully launched the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III on 5 June 2017 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Andhra Pradesh.[15]

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.[16][17].Unlike GSLV Mk .1 and GSLV Mk.2, it is able to carry heavy satellites to LEO and GTO. Its diameter also greater than other GSLVs.


Development for the GSLV-III began in the early 2000s, with the first launch planned for 2009-2010.[18] Several factors have delayed the program, including the 15 April 2010 failure of the ISRO-developed cryogenic upper stage on the GSLV Mk II.[18]

A suborbital flight test of the GSLV-III launcher, with a passive cryogenic third stage, was successfully carried out on 18 December 2014,[19] and was used to test a crew module on a suborbital trajectory.[20] The first flight with a crew on board is planned to take place after 2020.[18]

Indigenous cryogenic engine development[edit]

By 1987, Indian government approved the development of the second generation INSAT-2 series of satellites, weighing more than 2 tonnes. ISRO wanted to develop a 2.5-tonne class of satellites and put them into a geostationary transfer orbit at 36,000 km from Earth’s surface.[21] There were three fuels options: earth storable, semi-cryogenic, and cryogenic. India approved an offer of procuring cryogenic engines from the Soviet Union’s Glavkosmos space agency in 1990, but the US was against the deal.[22] According to ISRO, the engine CE-7.5 can be called an indigenous version, which works on a staged combustion cycle, with Russian design, while work to develop a high thrust CE-20 cryogenic engine began in 2002.[23]

S200 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.[8]

L110 stage 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.[24] On 8 September 2010 ISRO successfully conducted a full 200 second test.[25]

Suborbital flight test[edit]

The GSLV LVM-3 lifted off from the second launch pad, Sriharikota, at 9.30 am IST on 18 December 2014. The 630.5 tonne launch vehicle stacking was as follows : a functional S200 solid propulsion stage, a functional L110 liquid propulsion stage, a non-functional dummy stage (in lieu of CE-20 cryogenic propulsion engine) and finally the 3.7-tonne Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) payload stage. Just over five minutes into the flight, the rocket ejected CARE at an altitude of 126 km. CARE then descended at high speed, controlled by its on-board motors. At an altitude of 80 km, the thrusters were shut down and the capsule began its ballistic re-entry into the atmosphere. CARE’s heat shield was expected to experience a temperature of around 1600 °C. ISRO downloaded launch telemetry during the ballistic coasting phase prior to the radio black-out to avoid data loss in the event of a splash-down failure. 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[26][27][28]

C25 stage test[edit]

The first hot test of the C25 cryogenic stage was conducted at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) facility at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu on 25 January 2017.[29] The stage was hot tested for a duration of 50 seconds demonstrating all stage operations. A longer duration test for 640 seconds was completed on Feb 18 2017.[30]

Successful launch[edit]

The first "Developmental" orbital flight of the GSLV Mk.III was successfully launched, and placed the GSAT-19E Satellite in orbit on 5th June, 2017.[31]

Vehicle description[edit]

First stage[edit]

The S200 solid motors are used as the first stage of the launch vehicle. Each booster has a diameter of 3.2 metres, a length of 25 metres, and carries 207 tonnes of propellant. These boosters burn for 130 seconds and produce a peak thrust of about 5,150 kilonewtons (525 tf) each.[7]

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 gimballed when the rocket’s orientation needs correction.[32]

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,[32] similar to that of the American Titan III and Titan IV booster.

Second stage[edit]

The second stage, designated L110, is a 4-meter-diameter liquid-fueled stage carrying 110 tonnes of UDMH and N2O4. It is the first Indian liquid-engine cluster design, and uses two improved Vikas engines, each producing a thrust of about 700 kilonewtons (70 tf).[11][12] The improved Vikas engine uses regenerative cooling, providing improved weight and specific impulse compared to earlier rockets.[33] The L110 core stage ignites 114 seconds after liftoff and burns for 203 seconds.[12]

Third stage[edit]

The cryogenic upper stage (designated as C25) is powered by the indigenously developed CE-20 engine. It burns LOX and LH2 and produces 200 kilonewtons (20 tf) of thrust. The C25 is 4 metres (13 ft) in diameter and 13.545 metres (44.44 ft) long, and contains 28 tonnes of propellant.[33]

This engine was initially slated for completion and testing by 2015. ISRO crossed a major milestone in the development of CE-20 engine with the successful 640 secs hot test[30] at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri on 19 February 2017. The test demonstrated the repeatability of the engine performance with all its sub systems like thrust chamber, gas generator, turbo pumps and control components for the full duration. All the engine parameters were closely matching with the pre-test prediction.

The first C25 stage was first used on the GSLV Mk.III D1 mission[34] on June 5, 2017.[35] This mission successfully put in orbit the GSAT-19E communication satellite.[36] Work on the C25 stage and CE-20 engine for GSLV Mk.III upper stage was initiated in 2003, the project has had to face multiple 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).[6]


Flight Launch date/time (IST / UTC) Variant Launch Pad Payload Payload Mass Result
X 18 December 2014
09:30 IST / 04:00 UTC[37]
LVM3-X Second India Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) 3,775 kg (8,322 lb)[38] Success
Sub-orbital development test flight with non-functional cryogenic stage[39]
D1 5 June 2017
17:28 IST / 11:58 UTC
Mk.III Second India GSAT-19 3,136 kg (6,914 lb) Success
First orbital test launch with a functional cryogenic stage[40]
D2 In the first half of 2018 Mk.III Second India GSAT-20 Planned

Future improvement[edit]

There is a proposal to include the SCE-200[41] in LVM-3 in order to boost its payload capacity to 6 tonnes to GTO.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "GSLV Mk III - ISRO". Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "ISRO successfully launches GSLV Mark-III, India's largest rocket". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "'Fat Boy' GSLV-MK III launches today: The rocket has cost India Rs 400 cr". Business_Standard. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "Historic Day, Says ISRO As India's 'Baahubali' Rocket Lifts Off: 10 Facts". Retrieved 10 June 2017. 
  5. ^ "The first developmental flight of GSLV-Mk-III - ISRO". Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "LVM3". Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "ISRO Press Release: S200 First Static Test (S-200-ST-01)" (PDF). Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Isro successfully tests world's 3rd largest solid booster". dna. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "GSLV Mark III-D1 / GSAT-19 Brochure". IRSO. 
  11. ^ a b "GSLV Mk3". Space Launch Report. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c "L110 test to follow S200". IndianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "Cryogenic rocket engine has been developed from scratch: Isro chief". 
  14. ^ "India launches 'monster' rocket". 
  15. ^ "India's 'Bahubali' GSLV Mk III lifts less luggage than lighter rockets". 
  16. ^ "Indian Space Research Organisation preparing for three more PSLV launches". English: The Hindu. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  17. ^ GSLV MkIII, the next milestone : Interview: K. Radhakrishnan Frontline 7 February 2014
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ "India launches largest rocket and unmanned capsule". 
  20. ^ "ISRO inches closer to manned mission". 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-01-10. We will be checking the crew capsule for all parameters. 
  21. ^ "ISRO to launch high-thrust cryogenic engine today after over 30 years of research - Times of India". Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  22. ^ PULAKKAT, HARI (17 June 2017). "How ISRO developed the indigenous cryogenic engine". Retrieved 17 June 2017 – via The Economic Times. 
  23. ^ "GSLV Mk III breaks Isro's jinx of failure in debut rocket launches". 
  24. ^ "ISRO successfully conducts static testing of new age rocket". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "ISRO Press Release:Successful Static Testing of L 110 Liquid Core Stage of GSLV - Mk III". Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  26. ^ As it happened: Isro's launch of India's heaviest rocket Times of India 18 December 2014
  27. ^ Sangeetha Kandavel. "GSLV Mark III takes to the skies in test flight". The Hindu. 
  28. ^ "Isro to test GSLV Mk-III, crew module on December 18". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  29. ^ "ISRO Successfully Tests C25 Cryogenic Upper Stage of GSLV MkIII". ISRO. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  30. ^ a b "ISRO Successfully Tests its Cryogenic Stage (C25) for GSLV MkIII for the Flight Duration - ISRO". Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  31. ^ "Fast internet: GSLV III places heaviest satellite in orbit » Defence news by Indian patriots. Latest updates and analysis". Retrieved 2017-06-05. 
  32. ^ a b N. Gopal Raj. "GSLV Mark III faces its first experimental flight". The Hindu. 
  33. ^ a b LVM3 ISRO 23 December 2014
  34. ^ GSLV Mark-III set for partial test flight The Hindu 2 November 2014
  35. ^ "Isro to undertake the heaviest launch in December". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-09-18. 
  36. ^ Anil Wanvari. "India has 833 private TV channels". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  37. ^ "GSLV Mk-III: ISRO successfully test flies its heaviest rocket". The Economic Times. New Delhi. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  38. ^ "First Experimental Flight of India's Next Generation Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk-III Successful". 18 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  39. ^ "GSLV MkIII to launch Isro’s next mission". Hindustan times. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  40. ^ "GSLV Mk III-D1/GSAT-19 Mission - ISRO". Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  41. ^ "Semi-cryogenic Engine: ISRO Charting a Revised Plan". 20 June 2015. 
  42. ^ "ISRO developing heavy lift launch vehicles". 30 May 2015. 

External links[edit]