India set to launch heaviest satellite on Monday

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 05, 2017 2:28 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will launch a communication satellite on Monday using its most powerful rocket, in a further advance of its space programme aimed at winning a bigger share of the $300 billion global space industry.

The rocket, named Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk III, will lift off from the Sriharikota space centre in southern India at 5.28 pm local time (1158 GMT), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on its website.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been promoting the home-grown space programme as a demonstration of low-cost technology and in February it launched 104 satellites in a single mission, most of them for foreign customers.

At 3,136 kgs (6914 lb) the GSAT-19 satellite will be the heaviest India has attempted to put in orbit, the space agency said. The United States, Russia, China, Japan and European Space Agency have launched satellites weighing over three tonne.

ISRO hopes that if Monday's launch is successful, it will help it attract more foreign business in the lucrative heavier segment of the satellite business.

(Reporting by Vipin Das M; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Michael Perry)