Big leap in India's efforts for manned space flight

Scientists at the Indian Space Research Institute (Isro) have also made significant progress in developing a spacesuit and a support system for human crew in geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) Mk-III.

   Research is also under way on the re-entry issue, in which the module has to face enormous amounts of heat, and on how to land the module at a precise predetermined location. A manned space flight to a low-earth orbit (upwards of 160 km to a few hundred km) is on Isro's radar. Except the US' Apollo missions to the moon, all other human space flights took place in these zones. The international space station rotates the earth at an altitude between 330 km and 435 km.

GSLV Mk-III is three-stage vehicle with 200 tonnes strap-on solid-propellant boosters and a second-stage engine with liquid propellants, besides the indigenous cryogenic engine.

The experimental flight, however, will not carry a functional cryogenic engine. The heavy-duty rocket will fly up to an altitude of 120 km, after which it will take a parabolic path and dive in the Bay of Bengal.

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