The take off

Isro’s heaviest rocket is ready but is it enough for the load that lies ahead?

GSLV Mark III, which blasts off today, will lift Isro’s capacity to launch bigger commercial satellites. Yet the agency needs more. It has even been secretly preparing for it

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At the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, India’s sole spaceport in Sriharikota, a hulking metal form looms over the Second Launch Pad. Isro’s newest rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III, is ready to take to the skies this evening.

Isro officials will be keeping their fingers crossed. The performance of the rocket’s cryogenic stage, running on liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, will be of particular concern. Very much on their minds will be the memory of what happened when the Mark III’s older sibling, the GSLV, flew with the first domestically made cryogenic stage in 2010. The…

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