December 15, 2017

Watch a replay of India’s most powerful launcher heading into orbit

Video credit: ISRO

India’s GSLV Mk.3 rocket took off Monday on its first full-scale orbital test flight, delivering the GSAT 19 communications satellite to an on-target orbit after successfully demonstrating new solid rocket boosters, a twin-engine core stage and an upgraded cryogenic upper stage engine.

The 142-foot-tall (43-meter) rocket lifted off from India’s east coast at 1158 GMT (7:58 a.m. EDT) Monday with 2.2 million pounds of thrust from its two side-mounted solid rocket boosters. Two Vikas engines on the GSLV Mk.3’s core stage and a CE-20 engine on the upper stage took control of the flight to place the GSAT 19 satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit.

Monday’s flight was the first orbital launch of the GSLV Mk.3, which has twice the lift capability of India’s next-biggest rocket, the GSLV Mk.2.

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