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Thread: India's new launch vehicles GSLV Series

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    India's new launch vehicles GSLV Series

    India had it's 1st success with it's indigenous Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in January this year. This gave then the capability to put 2 tons into GEO. The following article is a critical look at what they have to achieve to compete with the other nations in the commercial launch business as well as develop their space exploration capabilities.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-...1-1235303.aspx


    The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has been the work horse of Indian space programme, notching up 26 successful launches since 1994, but cannot carry communication satellites weighing more than 2,000kg into space.

    This limits India’s ability to compete with countries such as France or China for the multi-million dollar global satellite launch business as well as forces it to hire foreign space firms to launch its own heavy satellites.

    More on the future testing and development of the GSLV MkIII (reported in the thread 'space race' before).

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-...1-1235397.aspx

    After the successful launch of PSLV-C23 carrying five foreign satellites on Monday, the next major launch lined up by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is GSLV MkIII experimental mission carrying the crew module, a senior Isro official said.

    “For the manned mission, we need a crew module in which the astronauts will be housed. This will orbit and can then be recovered. We are planning an experimental flight of GSLV Mk III with passive cryogenic stage in August this year to validate the vehicle performance during the atmospheric phase of the flight. The first developmental flight of GSLV-Mk III is targeted for 2016,” he said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    India had it's 1st success with it's indigenous Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in January this year.
    I just wanted to point out that this is not the first successfull GSLV launch, but the first GSLV MKII launch. (the article doesn't make that clear)
    Wiki GSLV

    The MKI had a Russian built upper stage, and had 2 successes.
    MKII is all Indian built, and its upper stage failed.

    Since this was only the second attempt at MKII, it looks like they are getting things worked out.

    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    More on the future testing and development of the GSLV MkIII (reported in the thread 'space race' before).
    Either this statement is misleading, or they are trying to fit "heavy lift" into their own definition.
    India’s attempt to develop a heavy lift launch vehicle has reached a significant milestone with GSLV-Mk III, which is capable of launching 4 tonne class of communication satellites to Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO)
    Being that it's not in quotes like the other statements, I suspect it's a little twist by the reporter.
    I suspect it's a milestone for the technology for a "later to be named" booster since the MKIII is only 10mT to LEO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I just wanted to point out that this is not the first successfull GSLV launch, but the first GSLV MKII launch. (the article doesn't make that clear)
    Wiki GSLV

    The MKI had a Russian built upper stage, and had 2 successes.
    MKII is all Indian built, and its upper stage failed.

    Since this was only the second attempt at MKII, it looks like they are getting things worked out.
    You are correct. This is the 2nd launch with their Indian-built Cryogenic Upper Stage. All the previous ones were foreign. All future development will be Indian built.

    Either this statement is misleading, or they are trying to fit "heavy lift" into their own definition.

    Being that it's not in quotes like the other statements, I suspect it's a little twist by the reporter.
    I suspect it's a milestone for the technology for a "later to be named" booster since the MKIII is only 10mT to LEO.
    To the Indians it is heavy lift. All they have been able to do till now was put 1 ton to GEO with their Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). So to put 4 times that amount into GEO - that is heavy lift.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    To the Indians it is heavy lift.
    Let them think that all they want. But; I would assume the rest of the world is more in line with NASA'S definition. At least that's how I have generally seen Long March and Angara variants referenced in the news.
    From the referenced citation...
    The payload class ranges of these requirements include 3 to 4 small (<2 t) payloads per year, 2 to 3 medium (2–20 t) payloads per year, and a heavy(20–50 t) payload [...](the requirement for a crewed super-heavy (>50 t) launch vehicle...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Let them think that all they want. But; I would assume the rest of the world is more in line with NASA'S definition. At least that's how I have generally seen Long March and Angara variants referenced in the news.
    From the referenced citation...
    You got to encourage them not dampen their enthusiasm.

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    We got a date for the next launch of the GSLV MkIII - it is July 21.

    http://www.spacecalendar.com/

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    The development of the GSLV MkIII has been given a boost in the new Indian budget.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/b...w/38175979.cms

    The first budget of the Narendra Modi government has given a powerful boost to the GSLV Mark 3 rocket programme with its budgetary allocation rocketing from Rs 10 crore to Rs 171 crore.

    The Mark 3 is an advanced version of the current GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket, with a capacity to place four-tonne class of communication satellites in the geostationary transfer orbit. Once this launch vehicle becomes operational, India need not depend upon European space consortium Arianespace to carry its four-tonne class of Insat communication satellites. This rocket will also be used to fly astronauts from Sriharikota.

    The massive hike for this much-delayed project assumes significance in the context of Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuring Isro at the launch of PSLV-C-23 on June 30 that his government would fully support India's space programme. The PM had said that "continued progress in space must remain a national mission. We must keep enhancing our space capabilities."

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    That makes me wonder what the program actually costs and if there are other sources of income or even what exactly is in the budget (like hardware only vs infrastructure and support)

    From my calculations it seems that Rs171crore is about $30 million.
    That doesn't sound like much for a rocket program. I assume it's a per year number. But that still undercuts most programs.

    And the comment about the human space program going up to about $3 million.

    Can it really be that cheap? Or am I not converting correctly?

    ETA:
    Conflicting numbers?
    Last edited by NEOWatcher; 2014-Jul-21 at 12:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    That makes me wonder what the program actually costs and if there are other sources of income or even what exactly is in the budget (like hardware only vs infrastructure and support)

    From my calculations it seems that Rs171crore is about $30 million.
    That doesn't sound like much for a rocket program. I assume it's a per year number. But that still undercuts most programs.

    And the comment about the human space program going up to about $3 million.

    Can it really be that cheap? Or am I not converting correctly?
    My view agrees with yours. Indian space budget is small compared to the western budgets. That is why they just have to work harder to make the dollar go that much further (take MOM as an example). It is 7 crore = US1 million

    Found this from 2013 that gives the total budget for their 5 year plan and what they planed to launch and which rocket. No breakdown. Their budget year goes from 1st April to 31st March the next year.

    http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=91814

    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has submitted a plan for 58 space missions to be undertaken as a part of 12th Five Year Plan, 2012-17.



    A Plan outlay of Rs. 39,750 crore in 12th Five Year Plan period has been provisionally earmarked under the Plan budget for Space Programme. During the current year 2012-13, a sum of Rs. 5,615 crore has been allocated and the amount spent up to End October, 2012 is Rs.1,871.53 crore.



    The Missions planned for 12th Five Year plan also encompasses 33 Satellite missions and 25 Launch Vehicles missions. The details and the objectives of each mission are as under:
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2014-Jul-25 at 12:42 PM.

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    India to launch another GLSV MKII . They need this and at least another one before they can say it is operational.

    http://www.defencenews.in/defence-ne...d=awIDLtUXfNI=

    Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Science and Technology, M/o Earth Sciences, D/o Atomic Energy and D/o Space Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said the GSLV project has successfully launched GSLV-D5 flight with indigenous Cryogenic engine and stage on Jan 5 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota and is currently preparing for the next flight GSLV namely, GSLV-D6.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Found this from 2013 that gives the total budget for their 5 year plan and what they planed to launch and which rocket. No breakdown.
    Roughly (very crudely) $100M per mission.
    I don't have the time to compare each item on that list to a Western equivalent mission to see how much difference there is.

    But; if we take MOM for instance.
    MOM: $75M projected.
    Mars Climate Orbiter: $193M.
    Definitely cheaper, but there are still issues as to the capabilities of each too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Roughly (very crudely) $100M per mission.
    I don't have the time to compare each item on that list to a Western equivalent mission to see how much difference there is.

    But; if we take MOM for instance.
    MOM: $75M projected.
    Mars Climate Orbiter: $193M.
    Definitely cheaper, but there are still issues as to the capabilities of each too.
    Agreed, it like comparing apples and oranges. At least we know their launch cost for satellites less then one ton their cost is lower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    That makes me wonder what the program actually costs and if there are other sources of income or even what exactly is in the budget (like hardware only vs infrastructure and support)

    From my calculations it seems that Rs171crore is about $30 million.
    That doesn't sound like much for a rocket program. I assume it's a per year number. But that still undercuts most programs.

    And the comment about the human space program going up to about $3 million.

    Can it really be that cheap? Or am I not converting correctly?

    ETA:
    Conflicting numbers?
    More details reveled in an answer to a question in the Indian Parliament in 2012. I would take the Rs171 crore as this years allocation

    http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=81367

    Indian space research organization (ISRO) has initiated pre-project Research and Development activities focusing on critical technologies for Human Space Fight Program. The funds allocated towards this are to the tune of 145 crore rupees. The distribution of funds for the various technical activities are under the major heads, Crew Module System (61 crore rupees), Man rating of launch vehicle (27 crore rupees), study contracts with national and international institutions (36 crore rupees) and other activities like aerodynamics characterization and mission studies (21 crore rupees). This information was revealed by Minister of State in PMO Shri V Narayansamy in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2014-Jul-25 at 03:05 PM.

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    Including an article from spaceflight101 on the GSLV mkII from January this year as it gives a good overview of the rocket.

    http://www.spaceflight101.com/gslv-g...h-updates.html

    " The focus of attention was the Indian-built Cryogenic Upper Stage and its engine that had proven troublesome during its two flights. The turbopumps of the ICE (Indian Cryogenic Engine, CE-7.5) were re-designed and the propellant feed system was improved. Also, the interstage interfaces were re-designed and GSLV underwent structural ground testing, and aerodynamic characterization.

    The Upper Stage and its engine were put through 35 ground tests and vacuum tests including endurance tests on the engine to ensure the system worked as advertised with the expected reliability."
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    India to build a new satellite launch pad

    http://www.indianspacestation.com/re...ite-launch-pad

    India is considering setting up another satellite launch pad at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, which is expected to boost the launching frequency of Indian satellites, it was stated Wednesday in the Lok Sabha.

    Answering a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh, said the third launch pad is "intended to support increased launch frequency and to support launching requirements of advanced launch vehicles." He said possible sites for the third launch pad were being identified in Sriharikota "taking into account the safety, distances and maximal utilisation of existing launch pad facilities".

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    GSLV MKIII experimental mission slated for end of this month has been postponed to later this year.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/H...w/40515679.cms

    With the mars orbiter mission (MOM) taking clear priority, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has postponed the key GSLV-MKIII experimental mission, which was initially scheduled for launch in the last week of this month.

    Notwithstanding the great success the PSLV class of launch vehicles, GSLV holds the key for many of Isro's future programmes including Chandrayaan-II and the proposed human spaceflight programme. An Isro spokesperson, confirming the postponement, said: "...We don't have a date as of now. The priority is MOM," the spokesperson said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    GSLV MKIII experimental mission slated for end of this month has been postponed to later this year.
    That seems kind of strange.
    You would think that just last month with it being scheduled and even allocating more money for it, they already knew how the MOM resources would affect the situation.

    They don't exactly say "because" of MOM. They just say "with", which only indicates concurrency and not a causal situation.

    I wonder if they ran into some issue. It says the capsule structure is in an advanced stage which implies they are not done with it yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    That seems kind of strange.
    You would think that just last month with it being scheduled and even allocating more money for it, they already knew how the MOM resources would affect the situation.

    They don't exactly say "because" of MOM. They just say "with", which only indicates concurrency and not a causal situation.

    I wonder if they ran into some issue. It says the capsule structure is in an advanced stage which implies they are not done with it yet.
    My suspicion is they are trying to include more facilities/checks in the capsule with the extra money allocated. After all the actual GSLV MKIII test flight is only in 2016 so slipping a few months now for some additional checks/facilities is worth it. Especially one rumor in the press was, if this flight is successful, the Indian government would approve the HSF budget.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    My suspicion is they are trying to include more facilities/checks in the capsule with the extra money allocated. After all the actual GSLV MKIII test flight is only in 2016 so slipping a few months now for some additional checks/facilities is worth it. Especially one rumor in the press was, if this flight is successful, the Indian government would approve the HSF budget.
    If this report is correct them my suspicion has been justified. Test flight now end October.

    http://www.newindianexpress.com/stat...cle2407809.ece

    The reason for the delay is that the prototype of a two-man crew module for future manned space missions which is to be tested aboard the GSLV Mk-III, is not ready yet. Secondly, in the next few weeks, all ISRO activity will be centred around the Rs 450-crore Mars Orbiter Mission, whose tryst with the Red Planet is slated for September 24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    If this report is correct them my suspicion has been justified. Test flight now end October.
    How can that be? The previous article says it wasn't ready yet. This article says it isn't ready yet. They don't say why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    How can that be? The previous article says it wasn't ready yet. This article says it isn't ready yet. They don't say why.
    My suspicion is they have been given extra money to upgrade their original capsule and they are not yet ready with all they want done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    My suspicion is they have been given extra money to upgrade their original capsule and they are not yet ready with all they want done.
    What is the "original capsule"?
    They have been saying all along that MOM has priority. There is no mention of money. There is no mention of added capability. There is no mention of any change in the situation at all.
    The only difference with this latest article and the previous one you posted is the previous one said by the end of the year, while this one says at least October. Even that's not a difference, it's just narrowing of their time estimate.

    Your suspicions are nothing but over-optimistic speculation with no real basis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    What is the "original capsule"?
    They have been saying all along that MOM has priority. There is no mention of money. There is no mention of added capability. There is no mention of any change in the situation at all.
    The only difference with this latest article and the previous one you posted is the previous one said by the end of the year, while this one says at least October. Even that's not a difference, it's just narrowing of their time estimate.

    Your suspicions are nothing but over-optimistic speculation with no real basis.
    The increase in budget was mentioned in my post #7 of thread "India planning for manned space flight". (The amount earmarked for the human space flight programme has also gone up: from Rs 9.19 crore to Rs 17.05 crore.) That is a 90% increase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    The increase in budget was mentioned in my post #7 of thread "India planning for manned space flight". (The amount earmarked for the human space flight programme has also gone up: from Rs 9.19 crore to Rs 17.05 crore.) That is a 90% increase.
    Show me where that applies to the test capsule.
    Show me ANYTHING that describes the test capsule other than it's a test of it's structural integrity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Show me where that applies to the test capsule.
    Show me ANYTHING that describes the test capsule other than it's a test of it's structural integrity.
    That I can not but they do say they are working on the test capsule. What is the 90% increase in budget this year for?

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    Let me recap the important points from all your links in:
    the MSF Thread
    and the GSLV Thread (this one)

    Thread, date (article date) - in order of article date.
    GSLV Jul 25 (Jan 24, 2013)
    List of missions but no details
    Total 5 year budget: 39750.
    Distinguishes the difference between GSLV Mark III X1 (experimental flight) and Mark III D1 (Developmental flight - launching a satellite)

    GSLV Jul 25 (Mar 21, 2013)
    Manned flight allocation of 145
    61: Crew module system
    27: Man rating of launch vehicle
    36: Contracts
    21: Studies

    GSLV Jul 3 (Jul 1)
    GSLV-Mark III first developmental flight in 2016
    "[Human space flight] is yet to be approved. Isro is developing certain critical technologies to fit the same. The crew module that will be launched by GSLV MkIII experimental mission is one such development."
    That looks like it points to the test capsule is not part of the manned flight budget.

    GSLV Jul 5 (Link is to the main page and I can't find the article mentioned. this is from your quoting)
    GSLV increase budget from 10 to 171

    MSF Jul 16 (Jul 16)
    Comments on the designing sensors within the allocation of 171.

    MSF Jul 28 (Jul 26)
    Human spaceflight delayed from 2015 to 2017 due to lesser funds
    149 crore out of 12500 allocated
    At that point they were developing (not building) the technologies for the manned capsule.
    The structure of the capsule had been done.

    MSF Aug 9 (Aug 8)
    Human flight launch by the end of the decade.
    Parachute ejection test.
    149 crore out of 12500 allocated

    GSLV Aug 20 (Aug 20)
    GSLV Mark III experimental mission delayed with no date.
    149 of 12500 received for human flight technology development
    Preliminary design reviews mostly done.

    GSLV Sep 3 (Sep 1)
    GSLV Mark III experimental mission date set to late October at the earliest.
    Prototype is not ready yet while focus is on MOM.

    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    The increase in budget was mentioned in my post #7 of thread "India planning for manned space flight". (The amount earmarked for the human space flight programme has also gone up: from Rs 9.19 crore to Rs 17.05 crore.) That is a 90% increase.
    That is only your statement. I can't find any mention of those numbers in any of the articles, so I don't know the context to determine what it looks like it's going to.
    Since the human flight program has already had 149 allocated out of 12500, those numbers are insignificant in comparison.
    Plus; did you ever think that they may have run into some cost overruns?

    Your speculations are making this very confusing to follow. I don't mind speculation, but you keep stating them as fact.

    Plus; Can we please keep talk about the human spaceflight in the other thread? I know this started with the test capsule structure, but you keep pulling in the human spaceflight information to confuse the issue.

    I don't know if the test capsule is in the GSLV experimental budget or the HSP budget. My suspicion is that it's the GSLV budget since that's the goal of the test. But; either way, it certainly is not anything close to the real capsule because design of any of the manned components are only in design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post

    Your speculations are making this very confusing to follow. I don't mind speculation, but you keep stating them as fact.

    Plus; Can we please keep talk about the human spaceflight in the other thread? I know this started with the test capsule structure, but you keep pulling in the human spaceflight information to confuse the issue.

    I don't know if the test capsule is in the GSLV experimental budget or the HSP budget. My suspicion is that it's the GSLV budget since that's the goal of the test. But; either way, it certainly is not anything close to the real capsule because design of any of the manned components are only in design.
    Let me point to another article on the topic.

    http://indianspacestation.com/resear...five-year-plan

    The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has already handed over the first Crew Module Structural Assembly for the mission to Isro. The first Crew Module will be further equipped with systems necessary for crew support, navigation, guidance and control systems by ISRO for experimentation in the forthcoming GSLV-MK III launch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Let me point to another article on the topic.
    Was that something you posted before? I must have missed that sentence. Thanks for pointing it out.
    I find it hard to believe, given the budget numbers that it's true. But; if it is, they must have buried the cost somewhere.

    There's still the possiblity that they are confusing the first real capsule with the test structure. But; in time, as we hear more, it will become clearer.

    The reason for my doubt?
    They don't have this fit-out of the capsule components in the "What needs to be done?" area even though they only said the structure was delivered. That, along with the other articles that said those components were in development and not being constructed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Was that something you posted before? I must have missed that sentence. Thanks for pointing it out.
    I find it hard to believe, given the budget numbers that it's true. But; if it is, they must have buried the cost somewhere.

    There's still the possiblity that they are confusing the first real capsule with the test structure. But; in time, as we hear more, it will become clearer.

    The reason for my doubt?
    They don't have this fit-out of the capsule components in the "What needs to be done?" area even though they only said the structure was delivered. That, along with the other articles that said those components were in development and not being constructed.
    When comparing costs remember that labour cost is much lower in India and China - that includes scientists and engineering cost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    When comparing costs remember that labour cost is much lower in India and China - that includes scientists and engineering cost.
    Not THAT much.
    They have only allocated 61 crore to the crew module systems (see above). A capsule takes tens of millions to billions of dollars to develop.
    We are talking several orders of magnitude here.

    So; like I said before, either it's not for the experimental capsule structure, or it's buried in another budget somewhere.

    ETA:
    Just for comparison, I did some searching on capsule costs. I came up with these numbers.
    Gemini $797M in 1967 cost. $4.5B today.
    Apollo $7.9B in 1969 cost. $44B today.
    Mercury $20M in 1962 cost. $162M today.
    Dragon $800M
    Last edited by NEOWatcher; 2014-Sep-08 at 02:33 PM.

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