Why India is using its 'Baahubali' rocket GSLV Mk-III for Chandrayaan-2

Known as India’s ‘Baahubali’ rocket, the GSLV Mk-III, which was launched in 2017, will be carrying Chandrayaan-2 to its designated orbit on July 15.
Why India is using its 'Baahubali' rocket GSLV Mk-III for Chandrayaan-2
Why India is using its 'Baahubali' rocket GSLV Mk-III for Chandrayaan-2
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In less than 62 hours, India’s ‘Baahubali’ launcher, as the GSLV Mk-III has been popularly dubbed, will put Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon, into its designated orbit. Chandrayaan-2 is an Indian lunar mission that will be going the Moon's south polar region.

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III is a three-stage vehicle developed by ISRO and is India's most powerful launcher to date. The GSLV Mk-III is being used for the moon mission designed to carry the four-tonne class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is about twice the capability of the GSLV Mk-II.

Since the 1980s, ISRO was dependent on foreign launchers to put satellites that weigh more than 2,300 kgs into space but that changed with the launch of GSLV Mk-III in 2017. After a decade of work by ISRO, which had to overcome several hurdles in cracking the complex cryogenic technology and developing its own C-25 engine, which was used in GSLV Mk-III D1, the GSLV Mk-III was first launched on June 5, 2017.

With a lift-off weight of 640 tons, GSLV Mk-III vehicle, which is powered by two solid motor strap-ons (S200), a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C25), has been designed for carrying the four-tonne class satellites. The C25 is powered by CE-20, India's largest cryogenic engine, designed and developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.

The two strap-on motors of GSLV Mk-III are located on either side of its core liquid booster. Designated as ‘S200,’ motor each carries 205 tons of composite solid propellant and their ignition results in vehicle lift-off. The S200s function for 140 seconds. During the strap-ons functioning phase, the two clustered Vikas liquid Engines of L110 liquid core booster will ignite 114 sec after liftoff to further augment the thrust of the vehicle. These two engines continue to function after the separation of the strap-ons at about 140 seconds after liftoff.

This will be the third time ISRO is using the GSLV Mk-III. The first launch was when the GSLV-Mk III-D1 successfully placed GSAT-19 satellite to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) from Sriharikota on June 5, 2017. GSLV MkIII-D2, the second developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III, successfully launched GSAT-29, a high throughput communication satellite on November 14, 2018, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

GSLV Mk-III is expected to be the vehicle that will eventually carry Indian astronauts and ISRO scientists have given it names ranging from "Baahubali" to "obedient boy" to "giant."

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