The Indian Space Research Organisation on Thursday launched its geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle, GSLV-F05, carrying an indigenous weather satellite INSAT-3DR. The lift-off from the Isro launch pad at Sriharikota, which was scheduled for 4.10 pm, was delayed by 40 minutes, reports said. The delay was because of a problem while refueling the cryogenic engine that was made by Isro, The New Indian Express reported, but the satellite was successfully placed in orbit, the organisation later said. The satellite was the heaviest one ever launched by Isro, at 2,211 kg.

Thursday's mission has put India among five other nations – the United States, China, Russia, Japan and France – to have mastered cryogenic technology. Isro Chairman AS Kiran Kumar said the organisation is looking at launching two GSLV Mk II a year after the successful test on Thursday. According to The Hindu, Kumar also said the space organisation is considering missions to neighbouring planet Venus, or an asteroid, besides another mission to Mars.

S Somanath, Director of Isro’s Liquid Propulsion System Centre, said the organisation is also developing another engine that will be twice as powerful as the cryogenic engine used on Thursday. The engine uses liquid hydrogen as a fuel and liquid oxygen as an oxidiser.

The INSAT-3DR is an advanced geosynchronous satellite that tracks important meteorological phenomena. It has an imaging system that will provide high-quality night pictures. It is also equipped with an atmospheric sounder, as well as a special search-and-rescue transponder to help in satellite-aided relief operations. A geosynchronous satellite orbits the Earth at a fixed point 35,786 km above the equator and travels in the same direction as the planet is rotating. The satellite is equipped with its own propulsion system to reach the geosynchronous orbit.

The satellite launch vehicle will also launch India’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, which is expected to be in 2017. Moreover, global communication satellite manufacturers monitored the event closely because there is a shortage of reliable launchers, reports said. Analysts believe that a successful GSLV launch will reduce Isro’s dependency on foreign launchers.