The Indian Space Research Organisation on Monday will launch the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle Mark-III, carrying communication satellite GSAT-19, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The mission is important as it is the “heaviest-ever rocket and satellite” to be launched from India, Isro chairperson AS Kiran Kumar said, according to PTI.

The rocket is scheduled for lift-off at 5.28 pm on Monday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. The GSLV Mk III is scheduled to launch the satellite into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit after 16.20 minutes following the lift-off.

The vehicle can lift payloads of up to 4,000 kg into the GTO and 10,000 kg into the Low Earth Orbit. The GSLV Mk III, which has two solid strap-ons, a liquid booster and a cryogenic upper stage, will be carrying the 3,136 kg GSAT-19 satellite.

Former Isro chairperson K Radhakrishnan said the successful launch would open up the international market for Isro and that foreign satellites can also be launched from here in future. “If today India has to launch communication satellites beyond 2.3 tonnes, we have to go abroad,” Radhakrishnan told PTI. “We will have self-reliance in launching communication satellites, and we will be able to attract foreign customers.”

This launch will also prove to be cost-effective for India in the future. Launching heavy INSAT-class satellites of 3.5 tonnes from the European Space Agency currently incurs a cost of Rs 800 crore each, GSLV Mk III Vehicle Director J Jayaprakash told The Times Of India. “At one third the cost or at about Rs 350 crore, India can launch heavier satellites on GSLV Mk III,” he added.