ISRO has successfully rolled out the GSLV-F14 launch vehicle with the INSAT-3DS satellite encapsulated within the payload fairing, or the nose cone at the top of the rocket. The satellite is the only payload on the flight, which is scheduled for 17 February, 2024, at 17:30 hours IST. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is the underdog in ISRO’s launch vehicle fleet, with a spotty track record. Out of the 15 flights so far, two have been partially successful, while four have failed outright. The sleeker Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the more powerful Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3) both have nearly spotless records.
This is an opportunity to see a rare rocket take to the skies, and interested readers can catch the proceedings on Doordarshan, with pre-launch programming typically starting about half an hour before the final countdown. ISRO is also inviting the general public to witness the launch from the viewing gallery. The rocket has been rolled out to the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in the Sriharikota High Altitude Range (SHAR), the location of ISRO’s only spaceport at the moment. ISRO is in the process of building its second launch complex at Kulasekharapatnam in Tamil Nadu.
What is the purpose of INSAT-3DS?
INSAT-3DS is an Earth Observation Satellite, designed to provide continuity of service to the INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR missions, both of which are continuing to orbit the Earth. The satellite will be deployed into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), after which it will use on-board propulsion to raise its altitude and reach its intended geosynchronous orbit. The satellite is fully funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), and has a sophisticated suite of instruments on board that will improve weather forecasting and disaster warning for the citizens of India.