LVM3  (GSLV Mk.3)


Indian Space Research Organisation * Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.


The Indian Space Research Organisation will develop a new GSLV Mark III, its heaviest, tallest and most powerful rocket. The 42.4-metre-tall rocket will have a lift-off weight of 630 tonnes and can put a four-tonne satellite into the geo-synchronous transfer orbit (GTO) or a 10-tonne satellite into a low-earth orbit. In comparison, the GSLV flight of May 8, belonging to the first generation of GSLVs, put a 1.8-tonne satellite in the GTO. The GSLV Mark II can put 2.2- to 2.4-tonne satellites into the GTO.
GSLV Mark III is not derived from the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) or the presented GSLV. Although it is called Mark III, it is a totally new vehicle. Its upper stage will be powered by a cryogenic engine developed at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu and codenamed C-25. It will have 25 tonnes of propellants - liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen - which will develop a thrust of 20 tonnes.
Besides the cryogenic stage, GSLV Mark III has a core stage of two engines powered by 110 tonnes of liquid propellants and two huge strap-on motors strung around the core.
Each strap-on motor of the Mark III will be 3.4 metres in diameter and they will be 25 metres tall. The challenge here is that India will develop a huge booster with 200 tonnes of solid propellants, and a cryogenic stage with 25 tonnes of propellants.
The development work on Mark III began in October 2002. New facilities will be established at Sriharikota and Mahendragiri to develop the solid boosters, the core liquid stage and the cryogenic stage. A massive plant will come up at Sriharikota to produce solid propellants for Mark III. This will be in addition to the existing Solid Propellant Booster Plant (SPROB) facility at SHAR, one of the biggest plants of its kind in the world. The private and public sector industries taking part in the project too have to augment their facilities for the realisation of Mark III hardware.

GSLV-Mk.3 (LVM3) is the next generation launch vehicle of ISRO capable of delivering 4ton class spacecraft to Geo-synchronous transfer orbit. LVM3 is in the advanced stage of development with the completion of static firing of the S200 solid strap-on motor, stage testing of L110 liquid stage, completion of development tests of the engine subsystems of the C25 cryogenic upper stage and development and qualification tests of major sub-systems.
In S200, processing of large 100 tone solid propellant segment, flex nozzle system, control actuators with blow down hydraulic power pack are the new developments. In L110 stage twin-engine configuration with two-plane gimbal control is used. The stage engineering being new, an integrated stage level test was conducted to demonstrate the stage performance. The engine uses silica phenolic throat insert which demonstrated an endurance of 240s of engien firing. C25 has a 200 kN engine operating in GG cycle. The injector elements, gas generator, turbo-pumps and engine and stage modules are developed and tested. The choice of GG cycle enables the testing of engine subsystems separately in modules. The major tests scheduled are the integrated turbo-pump tests and the testing of thrust chamber in pressure-fed mode before taking up the integrated engine test by next year beginning.
The propellant tanks and stage structures of LVM3 are realised and qualification tests are in progress. Structural load tests of L110 stage structures, propellant tanks and base shrouds are completed. The composite payload fairing is 5 m in diameter with 5m cylindrical length having 110m2 usable payload volume. The Payload fairing, Equipment Bay structure and Payload Adaptor are realised and are in the process of testing. The vehicle avionics and control systems are also of the new generation with advanced redundancy management and failure protection. The system developments are completed and are being inducted in the present vehicles and in LVM3 sub-assemblies. Vibration and acoustic tests of assemblies, stage separation functional tests are progressing. The ground resonance test (GRT) facilities for full vehicle configuration have been commissioned.
The vehicle assembly & launch facilities, and spacecraft processing facilities are ready and have been used for the stage preparations. No technology related challenges are foreseen for the development of LVM3. The pacing activity for the launch of LVM3 is the readiness of C25 stage.

LVM3 (GSLV-Mk.3)
LVM3 is envisaged to launch four tonne satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit. LVM3 is a three-stage vehicle with a 110 tonne core liquid propellant stage (L-110) and a strap-on stage with two solid propellant motors, each with 200 tonne propellant (S-200). The upper stage will be cryogenic with a propellant loading of 25 tonne (C-25). LVM3 will have a lift off weight of about 629 tonne and will be 42.4 m tall. The payload fairing will have a diameter of 5 metre and a payload volume of 100 cubic metre.

Vehicle Description

The boosters used on the GSLV-III will be the S200, which is also designated Large Solid Booster, or LSB, which is a solid propellant stage with a mass of 200 tonnes. Two boosters will be used. Each has a diameter of 3.4 metres and a length of 25 metres. Each booster generates 517 tonnes-force (5.15 MN) of thrust at lift-off. The Solid booster S-200 was successfully tested in January 2010.
Core stage
The core stage will be the L110 restartable liquid stage which has 110 tonnes of liquid propellant, a
length of 17m in length and 4m in diameter.. It will be the first Indian liquid engine cluster design, and will use two improved Vikas engines, each producing 75 tonnes of thrust. The improved Vikas engine will use regenerative cooling, providing improved weight and specific impulse, compared to earlier rockets.
Upper stage
The upper stage will be the C25, which is a cryogenic stage fuelled by 25 tonnes of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. It has a 4-metre diameter and is 8.2 metres long. The stage will produce 20 tonnes of thrust.

January 2014 -- Work on India’s most powerful rocket, scheduled for an experimental flight in April 2014, are in a final phase.

The suborbital flight test of GSLV Mk.3, named LVM3-X mission, is primarily to characterise the new 600-tonne heavy-lift vehicle with two large solid strap-on boosters during its flight through the atmosphere. The vehicle configuration will be in full and final form. However, the cryogenic stage, C25, will not be functional and will not develop any thrust. With this constraint, the vehicle can reach only about 5 km per second velocity. It will have as payload a prototype of the crew module meant for the manned mission.

First experimental suborbital flight of India's latest generation Launch Vehicle- GSLV Mk.3, carrying Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) is now scheduled in the third week of December 2014 from SDSC SHAR.