The successor of India’s current workhorse, the PSLV is the GSLV and has been in development/improvement mode for quite some time. Since the cryogenic engine’s flight acceptance test, the GSLV to which the engine is likely to be integrated has been on the news.
A report in the Economic Times today quoted K. Radhakrishnan, Director, VSSC (India’s rocketry hub) as saying that the GSLV will be used for India’s manned mission and possibly India’s first mission to Mars in 2013.
Also under development is the awesomely named GSLV Mk III. This rocket is expected to halve the cost of sending a payload into space! Think of the benefits and advantage this could be for Antrix, which has already made Rs. 1000 crores this year in the launch and satellite segments and which aims to grow at a steady 20% pa! After the flight trials slated for 2010-11 are over, this would really be a great competitor. Also, the GSLV Mk III will help India’s own space ambitions by being able to send more Indians on one flight than the GSLV and also sending sizeable payloads into deep space for missions to Mars. This could also be a great vehicle for the proposed missions to the asteroid and also the cometary flyby. By the time these missions are slated for, GSLV and GSLV Mk III would more or less prove their reliability and safety.
The regular GSLV can put a 2.2 tonne payload into GTO or send a 500 kg payload to Mars, according to the VSSC Director. The Mk III on the other hand will be capable of delivering a 4 tonne payload into GTO and much heavier payload to Mars. Interesting times are ahead!