INSAT-3DS mission to be launched from Sriharikota tomorrow

When India launches its latest weather satellite on Saturday, it will be using a rocket that has been dubbed the “naughty boy” of the Indian space agency.

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which is scheduled to lift off with the INSAT-3DS satellite from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 5.35 pm on Saturday, was called “naughty boy” by a former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) since the rocket has not performed adequately in six of its 15 flights – a failure rate of 40 per cent.

The last launch of the GSLV, on May 29, 2023, was successful but the one before that – on August 12, 2021 – was a failure.

In comparison, the GSLV’s heavier cousin, the Launch Vehicle Mark-3 or the ‘Bahubali rocket’, has completed seven flights and has a cent-percent success record. The workhorse rocket of ISRO, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), also has an enviable 95 per cent success rate, with just three failures in 60 launches.

The GSLV is a three-stage rocket that is 51.7 metres long – about a quarter of the length of the Statue of Unity, which stands 182 metres tall – and has a liftoff mass of 420 tonnes. The rocket uses an India-made cryogenic engine and ISRO plans to retire it after a few more launches.

The satellite being launched on Saturday is very special and is much needed as it will help boost India’s weather and climate monitoring services. Called INSAT-3DS, it is a third-generation upgraded, dedicated meteorological satellite.

The satellite weighs 2,274 kg and has been built at a cost of about ₹ 480 crore. It is fully funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said ISRO.