India took a giant leap forward toward its ambitious goal of sending humans into space by launching an unmanned crew capsule with a powerful rocket.
ISRO [Indian Space Research Organization] launched the 630-ton rocket from its facility at Sriharikota on the country's southeast coast. It was the first flight test of an improved version of the GSLV [Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle] rocket.It can carry up to 10 metric tons of cargo into low Earth orbit and up to 4 metric tons into geostationary transfer orbit once it is operational.
|India's test crew module floating in the Andaman Sea after splash down.|
In a statement on its website, ISRO said: "The mission began with the launch of GSLV Mk-III at 9:30 am [Indian Standard Time] from the Second Launch Pad as scheduled and about five and a half minutes later, carried its payload - the 3775 kg Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) - to the intended height of 126 km. Following this, CARE separated from the upper stage of GSLV Mk-III and re-entered the atmosphere and safely landed over Bay of Bengal with the help of its parachutes about 20 minutes 43 seconds after lift-off."
K. Radhakrishnan, ISRO's chairman, called the mission a "very significant day in India's space history."