ISRO chief AS Kiran Kumar says India will avoid foreign rockets to launch communication satellites

According to Kumar, there will be one more developmental flight of 640 ton GSLV Mk III, before it graduates to operational mode.

With its plans to compress the capabilities of six ton communicaton satellites in a four ton spacecraft, India intends to use only its own rocket for launching satellites, Indian space agency chief A.S. Kiran Kumar said on Monday.

"Our plan is to use GSLV Mk III (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III) for our future satellite launches. We have started having electric propulsion for our satellites which would reduce its weight," the Indian Space Research Organisation chairman told reporters here after the successfully launch of advanced communication satellite GSAT-19 weighing 3,136 kg with its own brand new and heaviest next generation rocket GSLV-Mk III.

He said the next communication satellite GSAT 18, weighing around 3.2 ton, would be launched using GSLV-Mk II variant while GSAT-11 weighing around 5.8 ton will be launched using Arianespace rocket. According to Kumar, there will be one more developmental flight of 640 ton GSLV Mk III, with a capacity to lift four ton satellites, before it graduates to operational mode.

Kumar said the next flight of GSLV Mk III will happen within a year. About the GSAT-19 satellite, Project Director P.K.Gupta said it is next generation satellite which will open lot of vistas in internet communication. He said around 50 new technologies are being tested in the satellite and once the tests are successful, they will be incorporated in upcoming communication satellites. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director K. Sivan said that GSAT-19 is a high through-put satellite. Heavy rocket and heavy satellite is a cost effective combination in the space field.

Kiran Kumar also said the GSAT-19 satellite's health is normal and it will be raised to its intended orbit in the coming days. Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre Director S. Somanath said, the brand new rocket was conceived, designed and realised by ISRO engineers. He added that the GSLV Mk III rocket does not have any foreign or borrowed technology. "We did not face any serious test failures while developing the crucial cryogenic engine that powered the rocket," Somanath said.

Queried about the mission cost, Kiran Kumar declined to answer. ISRO officials said a new vehicle assembly building is being built here to assemble the current GSLV Mk II, III rockets and also other future variants.

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