Weekly Current Affairs

Mega launchers for ISRO soon [S&T]

  • An advanced Indian mega space launcher that can deliver 10 tonne and heavier communication satellites to space and using a semi-cryogenic engine is likely to power ISRO’s launchers by around 2018.
  • That is the space agency’s next big space vehicle, having just achieved the GSLV for lifting 2,000-kg payloads. The agency is gearing up for first test flight of the GSLV Mark-III vehicle with a 4,000-kg payload.
  • Currently, the government has approved the development of the semi-cryogenic stage alone.
  • This would readily boost Mk-III’s maximum lifting capability from 4,000 kg to 6,000 kg. Two years thereafter, around 2020, this will be enhanced to 15,000 kg by putting strap-ons in clusters — stage where major European and U.S. launch providers already are.
  • The engine will use space-grade kerosene as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidiser.
  • Subsequently the plan is to have a modular vehicle (earlier called the unifield launch vehicle) which allows variations suited to different payloads; this being done with the PSLV with its three versions.