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ISRO scientists to trace the cause of GSLV-D3 failure

The GSLV-D3 rocket, carrying the GSAT-4 communication satellite, deviated from its path and plunged into the Bay of Bengal during its launch on Thursday. A PTI photo

BANGALORE (PTI): India's top space scientists will meet in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday to analyse the data and find the cause for failure of GSLV-D3 rocket that was launched for the first time on Thursday using an indigenously built cryogenic engine.

As per initial indications, the problem could have been related to the ignition of the cryogenic engine leading to the rocket tumbling, losing altitude and finally plunging into sea little over eight minutes after the lift-off from Sriharikota spaceport.

“Senior ISRO scientists, mainly working in propulsion area, are meeting in Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow afternoon to make a detailed analysis of the flight data,” an official of the Bangalore-headquartered space agency told PTI here on Friday.

The meeting would be chaired by S Ramakrishnan, Director (Projects), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).

The flight-testing of the indigenous cryogenic engine and the stage as part of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3) mission was not successful, dashing India's hopes of joining the elite club of space-faring nations possessing the complex technology required for launching heavier satellites.

The Thiruvananthapuram-based VSSC is the major centre of ISRO, where the design and development activities of satellite launch vehicles and sounding rockets are carried out and made ready for launch operations.

“The problem may be related to the ignition of the main engine. But it (the analysis) is going to be a tricky affair as the data we got is limited,” the official said.

ISRO officials would analyse the flight data in terms of parameters such as pressure and temperature and hold discussions on corrective measures to be taken for the next flight test of the indigenous cryogenic engine and stage within the next one year.

The GSLV-D3 vehicle lifted off as planned at 4.27 pm from the spaceport of Sriharikota after a countdown procedure lasting 29 hours.

The countdown went off as planned. GSLV-D3 vehicle performance was normal up to the end of the second stage lasting 293 seconds.

Afterwards, the cryogenic stage was to ignite and burn for about 720 seconds to provide the necessary velocity to inject the GSAT-4 satellite, carried by the rocket, into the intended geosynchronous transfer orbit, but things did not go as planned in that phase.

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