Indian scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have developed a rocket, GSLV-MkIII, that launched the heaviest satellite GSAT-19 into space. A S Kiran Kumar, ISRO chairman said that this was a step towards “self reliance’’ for India in the launching of heavy satellites.
It weighs 3,136 kg which is about the same as the weight of a single elephant and is the heaviest satellite to be launched from Indian soil. The GSAT-19 satellite is equivalent to having about 6 – 7 of the older type of communications satellites.
It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, in Andhra Pradesh, on June 5. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV-MkIII) is 43.43 m tall and is a new, enhanced and more powerful type of rocket with a cryogenic engine. US, Russia, France, Japan, China and India are the only countries that possess cryogenic engine technology.
Both PM Modi and President Mukherjee have congratulated ISRO on GSAT-19, ‘heaviest’ satellite launch. The director of the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, Tapan Misra, said that it was “a game changer communications satellite for India”. It is also “the country’s first satellite capable of providing Internet services using a space based platform. For a vast country like India, satellite-based communication where voice, data and streaming video all combine on a single platform holds immense potential,” added Misra.