The 161-foot-tall (49-meter) GSLV-F08 rocket took off majestically with nearly 1.8 million pounds of thrust from the Sriharikota Range (SHAR) at 4.56 pm 29-Mar-2018.

Four liquid-fueled Vikas engines ignited in the final seconds of the countdown, and a core rocket motor consuming pre-packed solid propellant ignited to boost the GSLV Mk.2 into a clear late afternoon sky.

The rocket’s advanced guidance computer commanded the GSLV on a course east-southeast from the SHAR space base. The launcher’s core stage emptied its solid propellant casing and burned out less than two minutes after liftoff, and the four Vikas booster engines shut down around two-and-a-half minutes into the flight.

A Vikas engine on the GSLV Mk.2’s second stage ramped up to full power, generating around 190,000 pounds of thrust during a 2-minute, 12-second firing. That’s a 6 percent increase in thrust over Vikas engines flown on earlier GSLV missions.

Indian space tech engineers wanted to demonstrate the High Thrust Vikas Engine’s performance Thursday before introducing the upgrade to the four Vikas engines that power the GSLV Mk.2’s strap-on boosters on future missions which includes the crucial Chandrayaan-2 mission in October this year.

The second stage also employed electromechanical actuators powered by lithium-ion batteries for the first time, replacing hydraulic systems used on past missions. The technology change will make the rocket more reliable, Indian officials said.
Ignition of the cryogenic engine (3rd Stage) occurred at approximately T+plus 4 minutes, 46 minutes, for a firing that lasted nearly 13 minutes.

In another first, the upper stage was programmed to fire a few seconds longer than on past missions to deplete the engine’s liquid oxygen supply, giving the GSAT-6A satellite an extra bit of energy toward its high-altitude orbit.

Live video from an on-board camera showed the GSAT-6A satellite separating from the GSLV Mk.2’s third stage around 18 minutes after liftoff. A round of applause inside the launch control center heralded the successful mission.

“Today, the fifth successive successful launch of GSLV with an indigenous cryogenic stage successfully placed the high-power S-band communications satellite GSAT-6A in the designated orbit precisely,” said K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization.

A rocket propulsion expert who took over ISRO’s top post in January, Sivan said the GSLV Mk.2’s performance enhancements are aimed at eventually increasing the rocket’s lift capability to near 3 metric tons — about 6,600 pounds. The higher-thrust Vikas engines will be installed on the first stage boosters flown on future GSLV Mk.2 missions. (with inputs from

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