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.


Gopal Raj

Gopal is a science journalist based in Thiruvananthapuram who has written extensively about the Indian space programme for over two decades and published a book, ‘Reach for the Stars: The Evolution of India’s Rocket Programme’. Follow him on Twitter @GopalRajN

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