The cryogenic engine of the rocket, which is being tested for the sixth time, has new company: The high thrust Vikas engine, which works on liquid propellants, and will be used in the second stage to give the rocket a higher thrust.
In future, the Vikas engine may become the mainstay of Indian rockets and could even be deployed when India hoists the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
The GSAT-6A, which it will carry, is a very special communications satellite that weighs 2066 kg and cost around Rs 270 crore.
Former ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar said the GSAT-6A carries one of the largest antennas ISRO has built, with a diameter of 6 meters, which will open up like an umbrella once the satellite is in orbit. The huge size gives it more power, ensuring that its signals -- whether for data, video or voice -- can be received through smaller and smaller hand-held devices.
The handheld devices are still being fine-tuned by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The organization hopes to deploy a large number of these, especially for security personnel in Maoist-hit areas.
Part of the Antrix-Devas agreement, the GSAT-6A and GSAT- 6 ran into controversy after the government scrapped the deal with Bengaluru-based Devas Multimedia Private Ltd. An international arbitration is still on.