ISRO working on rocket that could launch Indians into space
An indigenous rocket as heavy as 200 full-grown Asian elephants could well be the one taking "Indians into space from Indian soil" as the country inches closer to joining the big boy's space club.
Standing tall on the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh is the country's latest rocket called the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk- III), the heaviest rocket ever made by India that is capable of carrying the heaviest satellites till now.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) enters into a bold new world muscling its way to make its mark in the world's heavy weight multi-billion dollar launch market.
"We are pushing ourselves to the limits to ensure that this new fully self-reliant Indian rocket succeeds in its maiden launch," ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar said.
It is the maiden experimental launch of GSLV-Mk III earlier named Launch Vehicle Mark-3, but if all goes on well in a decade or after a slew of at least half a dozen successful launches, this rocket could be India's vehicle of choice to launch "Indians into space, from Indian soil using Indian rockets". This heavy lift rocket is capable of placing up to 8 tons in a low Earth orbit, enough to carry India's crew module.
ISRO has already prepared plans of hoisting a 2-3 member human crew into space as soon as the government gives it a sanction of about 3-4 billion dollars. If the human venture materialises, India would become only the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to have a human space flight program.
Incidentally ISRO asserts the first Indian to go into space could well be a woman!
"In principle, it will be the GSLV Mk-3 or its variant that will be human rated in future," Kumar confirms.
In the intense pre-monsoon heat, India's rocket port is buzzing with feverish activity as engineers from the Indian space agency get set to launch an all new indigenously-made rocket. It is the heaviest fully-functional rocket to reach the launch pad weighing 640 tons or almost 5 times the weight of a fully loaded Jumbo Jet airplane.
The new rocket is capable of carrying satellites of four ton class into the geosynchronous orbit and opens a whole new window through which ISRO can now explore the universe.
It is estimated that the new rocket costs a whopping Rs 300 crore but the country would end up saving almost as much when an Indian launcher is used to place New Delhi's communication satellites.