India will conduct an experimental test of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark 3 in mid-December, Isro Chief K Radhakrishnan said Tuesday.
The satellite launch vehicle will have a capacity of carrying approximately four tonnes of load, and will be able to launch heavier satellites in space, Radhakrishnan said giving the 50th Foundation Day Address at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
"In mid-December, we will have the experimental flight of the GSLV Mark 3. It will not launch a satellite in this flight, and will be passive in the upper stage," said the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chief.
"It will be ready for developmental flight in two years," he added.
The vehicle is 42.4 metres tall compared to the other GSLV which is 49 metres. It will be a three-stage vehicle.
Development for the GSLV Mark 3 began in the early 2000s, with the first launch planned for 2009-2010.
Several factors, including the April 15, 2010 failure of the Isro-developed cryogenic upper stage on the GSLV Mk II, have delayed the programme.
Pointing out that the cryogenic engine used in the launch vehicle, developed totally indigenously, make India one of the few countries with the technology, Radhakrishnan said India still lagged behind several other countries in the capacity of its launch vehicles.
"China has launch vehicles with 5.5 tonnes capacity, Europe has 11 tonnes capacity launch vehicle, US has 13 tonnes capacity launch vehicles and Russia has nearly 10 tonnes capacity vehicles," he said.
The Isro chief said the long term target is to make a launch vehicle with 12 tonnes capacity.