What went wrong with ISRO's GSLV D-3 rocket

20 Apr 2010, Comments: | Views: 3765 | | Category: India Space

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 Video Showing GSLV Launch

Senior Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists, who met at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram to examine the reasons for the failure of the GSLV-D3 mission with indigenous cryogenic upper stage, on Sunday ascertained that contrary to initial reports the cryogenic stage had doubtless ignited in the vacuum of the space. Scientists have assessed data on 300 performance parameters of the cryogenic stage, including pressure and temperature.On 15th April the rocket plunged into the Bay of Bengal less than 10-minutes after take-off when the cryogenic engine failed to ignite. 

It was concluded that the mission failed after the fuel turbo pump that supplied fuel to the cryogenic engine had stopped working a second after ignition. ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan chaired the two-day meeting.The scientists established that the indigenously built cryogenic engine had ignited for a second during the failed GSLV mission .[The Cryogenic Stage was to ignite and burn for about 720 seconds to provide the necessary velocity to inject GSAT-4 Satellite into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. ]

"This took place for a second and then the fuel supply to power turbo got blocked. The (Indian Space Research Organisation) chairman and we knew this on Thursday but then we wanted to be doubly sure about it. And now this has been substantiated with the data. By all means this is a great achievement," said a senior scientist who did not wish to be identified.

Dr Radhakrishnan is also due to brief prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday on the mission.

Failure will not affect Chandrayaan-2

 The failure of the GSLV-D3 mission on Thursday will not have an impact on the Chandrayaan-2 mission scheduled for 2013, according to K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).As per the ISRO's plans, it is a GSLV powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine that will put Chandrayaan-2 in orbit. The Chandrayaan-2 mission will also put a lander-cum-rover on the lunar soil. The GSLV-D3 mission had three objectives: to develop and launch an indigenous cryogenic stage with the engine and associated systems; to evaluate the performance of the indigenous cryogenic stage and engine; and to put the communication satellite GSAT-4 into orbit. Only the first objective was achieved, the ISRO Chairman said. S. Ramakrishnan, Director (Projects), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, said the cryogenic technology was the most complex of all types of rocket propulsion. France and the U.S. had also met with failures in using cryogenic engines. “Failures in cryogenic technology are not unusual. It is difficult to test the cryogenic engine even on the ground. We are disappointed. But we will overcome [the problems],” said Mr. Ramakrishnan.  

Next flight

The next GSLV flight would take place in September this year but it would use a Russian cryogenic engine. It would put into the orbit a communication satellite named GSAT-5B. Another GSLV flight, also powered by a Russian cryogenic engine, would put GSAT-6 into the orbit.

PSLV launch

Meanwhile, a core-alone Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) of the ISRO is scheduled to lift off from the first launch pad at Sriharikota between May 8 and 10. It has already been fully integrated at the first launch pad. It will put Cartosat-2B, an Algerian satellite, two nano satellites from the Norwegian defence establishment and Switzerland, and a Studsat into the orbit. The Studsat has been built by students of colleges in Hyderabad and Bangalore.  


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