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 at Sriharikota
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 640,000 kg (1,410,000 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 Development
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)
Booster Stage - S200
Length 25 m (82 ft)[1]
Diameter 3.2 m (10 ft)[1]
Propellant mass 207,000 kg (456,000 lb)[1]
Engines 2 Solid
Thrust 5,150 kN (525 tf) each[3][4][5]
Specific impulse 274.5 (vacuum)[1]
Burn time 130 sec[1]
Fuel HTPB[1]
Core Stage - L110
Length 17 m (56 ft)[1]
Diameter 4.0 m (13.1 ft)[1]
Propellant mass 110,000 kg (240,000 lb)[1]
Engines 2 Vikas engines
Thrust 1,598 kN (163.0 tf)[1][6][7]
Specific impulse 293 sec[1]
Burn time 200 sec[1]
Fuel UDMH/N2O4
Upper Stage - C25
Length 13.5 m (44 ft)[1]
Diameter 4.0 m (13.1 ft)[1]
Propellant mass 27,000 kg (60,000 lb)[1]
Engines 1 CE-20
Thrust 186 kN (19.0 tf)[1]
Specific impulse 450 sec
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.[8][9]


Development for the GSLV-III began in the early 2000s, with the first launch planned for 2009-2010.[10] Several factors have delayed the program, including the 15 April 2010 failure of the ISRO-developed cryogenic upper stage on the GSLV Mk II.[10]

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.[11] The first orbital flight is planned to take place in 2017.[12] The first flight with a crew on board would take place after 2020.[10]

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.[4]

L110 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.[13] On 8 September 2010 ISRO successfully conducted a full 200 second test.[14]

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 onboard 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[15][16][17]

Vehicle description[edit]

Stage 1 – solid boosters[edit]

The GSLV-III uses S200 solid motors. 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.[3]

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.[18]

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.[18]

Stage 2 – liquid motor[edit]

The core 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 (rocket engine)s, each producing about 700 kilonewtons (70 tf).[6][7] The improved Vikas engine uses regenerative cooling, providing improved weight and specific impulse, compared to earlier rockets.[19] The L110 core stage ignites 113 seconds after liftoff and burns for about 200 seconds.[7]

Stage 3 – cryogenic upper stage[edit]

The cryogenic upper stage is designated the C25 and will be powered by the Indian-developed CE-20 engine burning LOX and LH2, producing 186 kilonewtons (19.0 tf) of thrust. The C-25 will be 4 metres (13 ft) in diameter and 13.5 metres (44 ft) long, and contain 27 tonnes of propellant.[19]

This engine is slated for completion and testing by 2015, it will then be integrated with the C25 stage and be put through a series of tests. The first C25 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.[20] Work on the C25 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[22] Success Sub-orbital development test flight[23][24][25]
This flight carried a non functional version of the C25 upper stage to simulate its weight and attributes.[18][26]

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 December 2016[27] Mk III Second GSAT-19E 3,500 kg[26] For launching new generation GSAT weighing about 3.5t.[20][26][28]
Will have a functional cryogenic stage.[26]

Future Improvement[edit]

There is a proposal to include the Indigenous semi-cryogenic engine[29] to LVM-3 in order to boost its payload capacity to 6 tonnes to GTO.[30]

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 u v "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. ^ a b ISRO Press Release: S200 First Static Test (S-200-ST-01)
  4. ^ a b "Isro successfully tests world's 3rd largest solid booster". dna. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ a b "GSLV Mk3". Space Launch Report. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "L110 test to follow S200". IndianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Indian Space Research Organisation preparing for three more PSLV launches". English: The Hindu. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  9. ^ GSLV MkIII, the next milestone : Interview: K. Radhakrishnan Frontline 7 February 2014
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ "ISRO inches closer to manned mission". 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-01-10. We will be checking the crew capsule for all parameters. 
  12. ^ "Now, ISRO Well on Course to Test Giant Rocket GSLV Mk-III". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "ISRO successfully conducts static testing of new age rocket". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  14. ^ ISRO Press Release:Successful Static Testing of L 110 Liquid Core Stage of GSLV - Mk III
  15. ^ As it happened: Isro's launch of India's heaviest rocket Times of India 18 December 2014
  16. ^ Sangeetha Kandavel. "GSLV Mark III takes to the skies in test flight". The Hindu. 
  17. ^ "Isro to test GSLV Mk-III, crew module on December 18". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c N. Gopal Raj. "GSLV Mark III faces its first experimental flight". The Hindu. 
  19. ^ a b LVM3 ISRO 23 December 2014
  20. ^ a b Anil Wanvari. "India has 833 private TV channels". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "GSLV Mk-III: ISRO successfully test flies its heaviest rocket". The Economic Times. New Delhi. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  22. ^ "First Experimental Flight of India's Next Generation Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk-III Successful". 18 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "GSLV MkIII to launch Isro’s next mission". Hindustan times. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  24. ^ "India cracks cryogenic jinx as GSLV takes off". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "Mars conquered, Isro gears up for more". Hindustan Times (New Delhi). 24 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  26. ^ a b c d GSLV Mark-III set for partial test flight The Hindu 2 November 2014
  27. ^ "ISRO to conduct test flight of heavy capacity launcher by 2016: Expert". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  28. ^ "GSLV-D5 Twin may be Launched This Year". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  29. ^ "Semi-cryogenic Engine: ISRO Charting a Revised Plan". 20 June 2015. 
  30. ^ "ISRO developing heavy lift launch vehicles". 30 May 2015. 

External links[edit]