Thursday, April 15, 2010

GSLV D3: The ambitious satellite project failed to launch

The launch of GSLV D3 failed. On April 15, 2010, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3) was launched in India. The GSLV-D3, powered by a locally made Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) engine, was launched at around 4.27 p.m. from the Satish Dhavan Space Center at SHAR Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. After reaching 60 kilometers, the rocket stopped emitting signals which worried the scientists. The rocket carried a huge communication satellite named GSAG-4 weighing 2,218 kg. The communication satellite would be put into the orbit above 36,000 km from the earth.

India tried to acquire cryogenic propellant technology from Russia in 1992 which failed in the face of opposition from the U.S. Then a group of dedicate scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Liquid Propulsions System Center (LPSC) at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu, worked for about twenty years to develop this cryogenic technology. The CUS successfully underwent “full flight duration test” of 800 seconds.

In addition, for the first time the ISRO also tried electric propulsion system during the launch of GSLV-D3 instead of liquid fuel. This would enable the agency to extend the life of satellites.

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