GSLV MK-III - ISRO plans to launch a carrier rocket capable of lifting heavy satellites in May

NEW DELHI — The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to launch a carrier rocket capable of lifting heavy satellites in May, ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said on Wednesday.

"Next month, we have scheduled the launch of GSLV-Mk III-D1," Kumar said, as cited by the PTI news agency.

The GSLV-Mk III-D1, or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, is a launch vehicle developed by ISRO and intended to carry a crew vehicle. According to the official information, the launcher will be able to carry a payload of up to 4,000 kilograms (8,800 pounds) to the Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) and up to 8,000 kilograms to Law Earth Orbit (LEO).

"Once we build our own four-tonne capacity, we will be able to significantly reduce our launch from outside; then we are also looking at building satellites within that four-tonne capacity so that you can do all the launches within the country," Kumar said.

The May launch will be the first developmental flight of the GSLV rocket, which is scheduled to be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre or Sriharikota High Altitude Range (SDSC SHAR) launch center on the island of Sriharikora in eastern India.

The vehicle currently used by ISRO for domestic launches to carry the payload to the orbit is the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which can launch small size satellites (up to 1,425 kilograms) to GTO, as well as up to 3,800 kilograms to LEO.