December 15, 2017

Photos: India’s GSLV Mk.3 debuts with on-target test flight

India’s new GSLV Mk.3 launcher delivered to orbit the GSAT 19 communications satellite Monday, and these photos show the rocket lifting off from a launch pad on the eastern Indian coastline powered by two side-mounted solid rocket boosters.

The GSLV Mk.3 took off at 1158 GMT (7:58 a.m. EDT) Monday from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, a spaceport on India’s east coast around 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Chennai.

The 142-foot-tall (43-meter) rocket soared into mostly clear skies over Sriharikota, where launch occurred at 5:28 p.m. local time, on 2.2 million pounds of thrust from solid rocket boosters. A liquid-fueled core stage and cryogenic upper stage later fired to propel the GSAT 19 communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.

Monday’s flight was the maiden orbital test launch of the GSLV Mk.3, which completed a suborbital demo mission in December 2014 without a functional upper stage. The GSLV Mk.3 is India’s most powerful rocket to date, doubling the capability of India’s GSLV Mk.2 launcher to lift up to 8,800 pounds (4 metric tons) into geostationary transfer orbit, the drop-off point for most communications satellites.

Read our full story for details on the mission.

These photos show the GSLV Mk.3 rollout out to the Second Launch Pad at Sriharikota, followed by Monday’s liftoff.

Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO

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