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With GSLV launch, we've repaid all our debt to the country: Isro

India has taken first step towards building rockets that can carry heavy payloads

T E Narasimhan  |  Sriharikota 

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) today successfully launched it's heavy-duty rocket - the Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch vehicle (GSLV). The GSLV5, carrying communication satellite GSAT-14 was launched from Isro’s spaceport at Sriharikota, about 80 kms from Chennai.

With today’s successful launch India joined a select club of spacefaring nations having the crucial cryogenic engine technology, which is necessary to carry heavy satellites up into space. The other countries include United States, Russia, France, Japan and China in the elite club.

Chairman K Radhakrishnan said “with this successful launch, we have repaid all our debt to the country. Team has done it. Indian engine and stage have performed as predicted and as expected for this mission. The injection was precious as planned. It is a major achievement for GSLV programme. Today day was an Important day for science technology and space technology in India. It is 20 years of effort, especially the last 3.5 years, today’s successful launch shows the maturity of us. I thank and salute everyone".

Today’s launch is an important milestone for Isro, after successful Mars mission exactly two months back, since the GSLV, powered by Isro’s own crucial cryogenic engine. The technology for which so far our space programmes have been depend on Russian technology.

So far India has to depend on other countries to launch heavy weight (more than 3 tonnes) and has been shelling out huge money. According to a senior official India has been paying around $85-90 million (around Rs 500 crore) as launch fee to foreign space agencies for sending upto a 3.5 tonne communication satellites

The successful launch of this rocket was crucial for India as this is the first step towards building rockets that can carry heavier payloads.

Today’s launch was the first mission of the GSLV after two such rockets failed in 2010 and last August launch was aborted at the last minute as the fuel started leaking from its second stage or engine.

Isro said that the second stage was replaced with a new one built with a different metal and some of the critical components were also replaced in the four strap-on motors of the first stage as a matter of precaution, according to an Isro official.

One of the GSLV rockets was fitted with the Indian cryogenic engine and the other with a Russian engine.

The GSLV is a three-stage/engine rocket. The first stage is fired with solid fuel, the second is the liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine.

Several design changes were incorporated into the rocket for a safe blast-off and design changes were also made in the lower shroud/cover that protects the cryogenic engine during the atmospheric flight; wire tunnel of the cryogenic stage to withstand larger forces during the flight; and the revised aerodynamic characterisation of the entire rocket.

The 49.13-metre tall rocket, weighing 414.75 tonnes was launched today and the GSLV safely delivered GSAT-14 to augment the Indian transponder - receivers and transmitters of signals - capacity.

GSLV is capable of launching 2000 kg class satellites into GTO. GSLV Mark-III, to place 4000 kg class satellites in GTO, is under development.

India has developed and commissioned Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.

PSLV can launch 1850 kg class remote sensing satellites into a 480 km polar Orbit. It can also place a satellite weighing about 1150 kg in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or a 3500 kg class satellite in Low Earth Orbit.

Out of the 68 launches by Isro from April 1975, 26 launches were carried out from locations outside India.

First Published: Sun, January 05 2014. 16:36 IST