Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ground-firing of S200

Ground-firing of an Ariane-5 SRB at Guiana Space Centre

ISRO is supposed to take the first step towards the launch of GSLV-Mk III by ground-firing the S200 booster in January, 2010. S200 is a major component of the Mk-III, providing the thrust at lift-off of the launch vehicle.

The S200 is the third biggest solid booster of any launch vehicle in active service, after the space Shuttle's SRBs and Ariane-5's EAP. This in a way shows that India is going beyond what was historically thought to be a Soviet-based space program. It's a matter of fact that Soviet and soviet based programs like the Chinese, never use solid propellent on their heavy-launch vehicles. Whereas, it's the western space programs that are famous for their extensive use of solids in heavy-lift vehiclea and crew-launch vehicles.

The S200 is a expendable stage carrying 200 tons of propellant with a lenght of 25 m and diameter of 3.2 m. The thrust at liftoff should be around 7000 kN. But, the average thrust output should be around 4500 kN to go with the stated burn-time of 103-104 seconds.

The ground-firing of the S200 will mark the successful development of 2 stages of the Mk-III, viz the L110 and the S200. The C25 is the final stage that remains. According to reports, ISRO has already finalized the design of CE-20 and that the process of fabrication also seems to have started. Once the engine is completed, its will be tested extensively following which there will be full-stage firing of the C25 stage.

Althought ISRO has quoted a launch of 2011 for the Mk-III, it would be an almost improbable task given the status of the upper stage. Fabrication to certication normally takes around 2-3 years. So, it would be safe to assume that the probable launch date of Mk-III would more-likely be 2012-13.


  1. When will this happen ie when in january ???

  2. Thankyou for the updates

    Do you know why the GSLV launch is delayed. Is ISRO experiencing any last minute problems with the cryo stage?

  3. To Anon at 8:06

    The test will probably take place after the launch of GSLV-D3. At present all the effort is on D3 flight. So, we can expect it to be done in February or so.

    To Anon at 8:08

    There were some delays in integration of TAUVEX with GSAT-4 and have since been successfully integrated. The vehicle itself had it's second stage integrated a short while back and will be followed by the C15 stage shortly. There's a good chance the the launch would take place at the end of January.

  4. Most Americans want a manned return to the moon but funding is a problem. Here is where India comes into the picture to provide a cheaper alternative to reach space. Please encourage students especially to see the benefits of space missions to Indian economy (ala outsourcing). The discovery of water on the moon has put us in good light. We need to follow up on CY-2 rover to look for water on the surface. Imagine what an Indian manned moon landing will do to attract space outsourcing contracts. Manned moon landing is the equivalent of PARAM supercomputer to the IT/ BPO industry – it is a technology demonstrator of what we can do – better and cheaper.

  5. Well done.great blog. :-)