Behind Chandrayaan-2’s GSLV Mk-III rocket that developed a glitch

3 min read
  1. The launch of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second moon mission, was aborted after a technical snag in the launch vehicle system- GSLV Mk-III rocket. GSLV Mk-III has been touted as the most powerful rocket built by ISRO.
  2. The GSLV Mk-III is a three-stage rocket developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It has been designed to carry four-tonne class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
  3. The first stage consists of two strap-on tanks fitted to the either side of the rocket. The tanks contain solid fuel that is burnt, providing the initial thrust to fly the rocket out of Earth’s atmosphere.
  4. The second stage consists of the core booster. It burns liquid fuel and is the primary source of thrust after the strap-on tanks detach from the rocket.
  5. The final stage is a cryogenic engine installed in the top part of the GSLV Mk-III. The cryogenic upper stage provides the last-mile thrust after the liquid core booster separates from the rocket.
  6. GSLV Mk-III had two successful flights till now— a) it carried and deployed the GSAT-19 communication satellite in June 2017 and b) the GSAT-29 communication satellite in November 2018.
  7. Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles (GSLV) are space launch vehicle. They are used to put into geostationary orbits that are over 30,000 km from Earth. They use a different fuel and can carry heavier payloads and travel deeper into space when compared to PSLVs.
  8. PSLVs (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) are also satellite launch vehicles. PSLV is designed mainly to deliver the satellites with lift-off mass of up to about 1750 Kg to Sun-Synchronous circular polar orbits of 600-900 Km altitude. These orbits are also referred to as “Low Earth Orbit (LEO).