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GSLV Mark 3 gets approval

Our Bureau

BANGALORE, June 5

GSLV Mark 3, tipped to be ISRO's future satellite launching workhorse, has been approved.

The Rs 2,500-crore launch vehicle project will be capable of lifting 4-tonne class satellites into space. It will bring Indian launch capabilities on a par with those of Arianespace's recent Ariane 5.

According to Launch Vehicle Programme Office Director, Mr D.Narayana Moorthi, "Mark 3 will be an elegant vehicle with some 25 years of national and commercial service.''

The project can open up new areas of industrial participation, including private capital investments, use of ISRO facilities and a higher level of integration, he said at a space industry meet today.

So far, ISRO has tested its sub 2-tonne GSLV only once. The second one is due this year or in 2003.

Slated for 2007-08, Mark 3 will also halve the launch cost at present rates, Mr K.R.Sridharamurthi, ED of ISRO's marketing arm Antrix Corporation, said.

While the 1.5-tonne PSLV has already made four small commercial launches, "We are still expecting a contract for a full launch,'' he said.

The ISRO Chairman, Dr Kasturirangan, said ISRO's yet another venture, the indigenous cryogenic engine, is still some two years from operationalisation, while its phases are under constant trials.

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