The Indian government has approved the $520 million development of a third-generation Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle. A potential fourth generation vehicle capable of placing a 6,000kg (13,000lb) spacecraft into geostationary orbit is planned by 2008.

The Mk1 model, capable of carrying 2,000kg, was test flown in April 2001. An uprated Mk2, capable of carrying 2,500kg, is due to fly next year with an indigenous C25 cryogenic engine, while the Mk3 will replace the core stage with a unit using two Vikas engines and two solid propellant strap-on motors.

The Mk4 upgrades could include two additional strap-on boosters and enhancements to the thrust of the core stage engines.

Source: Flight International