ISRO’s largest rocket has made it to orbit again! The second operational flight of the GSLV-III took off from Sriharikota just after 0915 UTC with a new commsat that will operate at 55° East in the Clarke Belt.
GSAT-29 will serve the Indian subcontinent with four fixed Ka/Ku spot beams, two of which will focus on India’s relatively remote northeast and northwest regions. GSAT-29 also has laser and high-band microwave test payloads, plus a steerable Ka spot beam for focus coverage wherever needed.
Though competition is tough in the medium-lift GTO market, GSLV-III can now be considered flight proven. The new expendable launcher is already price competitive with the reusable Falcon 9, and is well ahead of Soyuz-2. The GSLV-III will also power ISRO’s manned space program, slated for liftoff in 2022.