The first experimental flight (GSLV Mk-III X/CARE) of India’s next generation launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III was successfully conducted today (December 18, 2014) morning from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Also known as LVM3-X/CARE, this suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicle performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and thus carried a passive (non-functional) cryogenic upper stage.
The mission began with the launch of GSLV Mk-III at 9:30 am IST from the Second Launch Pad as scheduled and about five and a half minutes later, carried its payload – the 3775 kg Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) – to the intended height of 126 km. Following this, CARE separated from the upper stage of GSLV Mk-III and re-entered the atmosphere and safely landed over Bay of Bengal with the help of its parachutes about 20 minutes 43 seconds after lift-off.
Two massive S-200 solid strap-on boosters, each carrying 207 tons of solid propellants, ignited at vehicle lift-off and after functioning normally, separated 153.5 seconds later. L110 liquid stage ignited 120 seconds after lift-off, while S200s were still functioning, and carried forward for the next 204.6 seconds. CARE separated from the passive C25 cryogenic upper stage of GSLV Mk-III 330.8 seconds after lift-off and began its guided descent for atmospheric re-entry.
After the successful re-entry phase, CARE module’s parachutes opened, following which it gently landed over Andaman Sea about 1600 km from Sriharikota, there by successfully concluding the GSLV Mk-III X/CARE mission.
With today’s successful GSLV Mk-III X / CARE mission, the vehicle has moved a step closer to its first developmental flight with the functional C25 cryogenic upper stage.