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GSLV takes off successfully

Our Bureau Sriharikota | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on January 05, 2014

The Indian Space Research Organisation achieved another milestone on Sunday as it successfully launched the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLVD5 from Satish Dawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. — Photo: V. Ganesan

K. Radhakrishnan, ISRO Chairman, addressing the media after launching successfully the GSLV-D5, GSAT 14 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. S Ramakrishnan (left), Director, VSSC looks on. -- V. Ganesan

Launching a GSLV with an indigenous cryogenic engine has proved a major challenge for ISRO with only four of seven earlier attempts having succeeded.   -  ISRO

India’s home-grown communication satellite lifts off after 3 attempts

India’s reputation in rocket technology grew as its communication satellite, carried by the hard-to-perfect Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, took off successfully on Sunday.

Tension began to mount four minutes after takeoff, when the country’s home-grown engine ignited. Cheers went up when the propeller ignited successfully and sustained its combustion.

Seventeen minutes and eight seconds after takeoff, an emotional K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation, said from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, that the communication satellite GSAT-14 had broken free from the launch vehicle, and had successfully entered space.

In top league

The feat took three attempts and an investment of Rs 170 crore. The success launches India into the league of US, Russia and Japan that boast indigenous development of cryogenic technology.

The 414-tonne GSLV-D5 carried a 1,982-kg satellite into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, a league in space where the satellite will move in tandem with the earth’s rotation.

With a mission life of 12 years, the satellite will play a key role in bolstering communication systems required for the country’s initiatives in tele-medicine and tele-education. The two solar arrays on the satellite can generate power, while the lithium-ion batteries supply power during eclipse period.

“We put our heart and soul into it,” he said.

“The last three years have been excruciating,” recounted Radhakrishnan, referring to the time scientists with the Indian Space Programme went back to the drawing board after a failed mission in 2010. Besides a key redesign in the cryogenic engine that bolstered its stability, scientists made several modifications and, for the first time, tested it at a Cryogenic Upper Stage facility in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.

Russian tech

India, accomplished in launching lighter satellites on Polar Vehicles launch Vehicles, has relied on Russian technology to send seven geosynchronous heavy satellites (weighing over two tonnes) so far. An attempt to strike out on its own in 2010 failed. With this success, the stage is set for more GSLV launches.

“Today we have two launch-pads. A team has been commissioned to do feasibility studies for a third launch-pad. The GSLV Mark III can launch satellites of 3.4-5 tonnes. This could open up the market for ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation, which is expected to see a revenue rise of 15 per cent in 2013-14.

Radhakrishnan said there was a slew of launches planned on the GSLV launch-pad: GSAT 6, GSAT 7A, GSAT 9, and Chandrayaan II. But, before the second phase of the moon mission, another satellite will be launched from the GSLV to test its reliability.

bharani.v@thehindu.co.in

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Published on January 05, 2014
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