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GSLV-F10 fails to put earth observation satellite in orbit due to ‘tech anomaly’

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on August 12, 2021

Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition fails to happen due to technical anomaly

In a setback to India’s space programme, the GSLV-F10 rocket failed midway in its mission to put into orbit the Earth Observation Satellite (EOS-03) on Thursday.

Sadly, the failure happened on the birth anniversary of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, who is regarded the father of Indian Space Programme.

The 2,268 kg EOS-03 communication satellite, carried by the rocket, was lost a few minutes after the rocket had a successful lift-off at 0543 hrs from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

Making a brief statement on the failure, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said from the mission control room: “The mission could not be fully accomplished because there is a technical anomaly observed in the cryogenic stage.”

Technical anomaly

The performance of the first and second stages was normal. However, the Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen due to technical anomaly. The mission could not be accomplished as intended, said the Indian Space Research Organisation in a tweet.

The GSLV-F10 was a three-stage engine rocket, with the first being solid fuel and the four strap-on motors by liquid fuel; second was liquid fuel; and third a cryogenic engine.

‘A complex mission’

Former ISRO Chairman, G Madhavan Nair, speaking to a wire agency, expressed shock over the unsuccessful GSLV-F10 launch mission, but said that ISRO is resilient enough to bounce back. This is a very complex mission. Normally, the cryogenic stage is the most difficult one compared to all other rocket propulsions, he said. A Ogive-shaped payload fairing was flown for the first time in this GSLV flight. It was the 14th flight of GSLV.

The objective of EOS-03, which was to have a mission life of 10 years, was to provide near real-time imaging of large area region of interest at frequent intervals; for quick monitoring of natural disasters, episodic events and any short-term events; to obtain spectral signatures for agriculture, forestry, water bodies; as well as for disaster warning, cyclone monitoring, cloud burst / thunderstorm monitoring.

The launch was originally slated for March 5, 2020, but hours before the launch, the mission was postponed due to a technical glitch. The launch was again planned in March this year, but due to problems with the satellite’s battery, the flight got delayed again. And when the launch finally happened on Thursday, it turned out to be a failure.

For ISRO, it was the second space mission in 2021 after the successful launch of Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1 by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle early this year.

Published on August 12, 2021

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