The Indian Space Research Organisation on Monday launched the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle Mark-III, carrying communication satellite GSAT-19, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It was the “heaviest-ever rocket and satellite” launched from India.

The rocket was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. The GSLV Mk III was scheduled to launch the satellite into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit after 16.20 minutes following the lift-off. The rocket weighs 640 tonnes and is 43.43 metres tall.

Isro published several pictures capturing the moments before the launch. Here are some of them:

GSLV-Mk III-D1 being moved from Vehicle Assembly Building to second launch pad. (Credit: ISRO)
GSLV-Mk III-D1 being moved from Vehicle Assembly Building to second launch pad. (Credit: ISRO)
Cryogenic Upper Stage is being integrated with the GSLV-MK III D1. (Credit: ISRO)
Cryogenic Upper Stage is being integrated with the GSLV-MK III D1. (Credit: ISRO)
S200 strap-ons integrated with core L110 liquid stage. (Credit: ISRO)
S200 strap-ons integrated with core L110 liquid stage. (Credit: ISRO)
GSAT-19 undergoing test at compact antenna test facility. (Credit: ISRO)
GSAT-19 undergoing test at compact antenna test facility. (Credit: ISRO)
Reflector deployment test in progress. (Credit: ISRO)
Reflector deployment test in progress. (Credit: ISRO)

What this means for India

The launch was significant since India pays a massive Rs 800 crore to launch a heavy INSAT-class satellites from the European Space Agency. “At one third the cost or at about Rs 350 crore, India can launch heavier satellites on GSLV Mk III,” GSLV Mk III Vehicle Director J Jayaprakash said. 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.