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With GSLV Mk III, India to begin manned space missions?

29 May 2017 | By Gaurav Jeyaraman
Can GSLV Mk III facilitate manned space missions?

With the launch of the GSLV Mk III, ISRO's heaviest launch vehicle, India may soon enter the elite club of nations capable of manned-space missions.

As of now, only three nations - US, China and Russia, have the capability of launching manned missions.

Scheduled to be launched on June 5, it is called 'fat boy' because it is ISRO's heaviest yet shortest launch vehicle.

In context: Can GSLV Mk III facilitate manned space missions?

1962ISRO's humble beginnings

The National Committee for Space Research was set-up in 1962 under the Department of Atomic Energy.

That year, construction on the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Kerala began.

In 1963, the first rocket was launched from TERLS marking India's foray into space technology.

The first headquarters for India's space programme was St. Mary Magdelene church in Thiruvananthapuram.

Bullock carts, bicycles and satellites

India's first experimental rocket was brought to the launch-pad on a bicycle and the first experimental communications satellite, the APPLE, was brought to the launch-pad on a bullock cart.
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29 May 2017With GSLV Mk III, India to begin manned space missions?

The cryogenic engine that took 15 years to master

The GSLV Mk III has an indigenous cryogenic engine which took 15 years for ISRO to perfect. The engine runs on liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen and is one of the heaviest rocket engines in the world.
Details of the GSLV Mk III

DetailsDetails of the GSLV Mk III

The GSLV III has a much higher launch capacity than the GSLV II which was also called the workhorse of ISRO. It weighs over 640 tonnes and is just 43 meters tall.

It is capable of putting a 4 tonne satellite in geo-stationary orbit and an 8 tonne satellite in low-earth orbit.

The rocket is also considered more manoeuvrable than the GSLV II.

Is ISRO considering manned missions?

ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said "Until we get approval from the government, ISRO won't work on the manned mission. Our key priority is to meet the national demand of providing more number of satellites into orbits in the field of communication, remote sensing and navigation."