Tahlka News Bureau
New Delhi: India's most powerful homegrown rocket is set to launch today, another milestone for its indigenous space programs that one day hopes to put a man into orbit.
The 43-metre (140-feet) rocket is scheduled to lift off just before 5:30 pm (12:00 GMT) from the southern island of Sriharikota, one of the two sites used by the ISRO to launch satellites.
The latest model is boost by a powerful engine that has been developed over many years in India. Programme manager hope the technology will reduce reliance on European engines that has propelled some of India's spacecraft in the past.
The GSLV MK-III rocket will carry a satellite weighing more than three tonne into the orbit. Ajay Lele from Delhi-based institute for defense studies and analyses told that, "This is an important moment in India's space technology to launch an indigenous heavy rocket."
"Communication satellites are quite heavy and we were able to send up to two tones previously. This is a double quantum jump for India."
A successful launch of the 640-tonne rocket will be another feather in the cap of scientists at ISRO, who won Asia's race to Mars in 2014 when an Indian spacecraft reached the Red Planet on a shoe-string budget.
That feat carved out India's reputation as a reliable low-cost option for space exploration programme, with its $73 million price tag drastically under cutting NASA's Maven Mars $671-million mission.
ISRO is also mulling the idea of mission to Jupiter and Venus.