The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched India’s newest communication satellite, GSAT-29, into orbit on the GSLV-MkIII D2’s second developmental flight from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
At exactly 5.08 pm, the GSLV-Mk III rocket began its ascent with a deep growl that reverberated “like a thunder roll breaking free” from the second launchpad in Sriharikota. The MkIII, in its second developmental test launch before its carries Indian astronauts to space, launched the GSAT-29 satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite will then be positioned in Earth’s Geostationary Orbit (GEO) using thrusters, at an altitude of 207 kilometres above ground. The 43.4-metre tall GSLV-MkIII rocket weighs roughly 640 tonnes and has the capacity to carry a satellite as heavy as four tonnes into space. It is also the rocket ISRO intends to use to carry the first Indian astronauts to space in the 2022 Gaganyaan mission. The successful launch of GSAT-29 adds to a series of test flights ISRO is carrying out to develop the agency’s heaviest rocket for the manned space mission. ISRO had flown a similar rocket on 5 June 2017, when it launched the GSAT-19, another Indian communication satellite, in the rocket’s historic first developmental launch.