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Monday, December 27, 2010

The sad plight of GSLV F06

25th Dec 2010 was a forgettable day for Indian Space scientists as the Geostationary Satellite Launch vehicle (GSLV) F06 with GSAT 5P failed minutes after blast off.
                                                                   the launchpad at ISRO
The Space activities of the Nation started in 1960s thanks to visionary leaders like Dr Vikram Sarabhai.  Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the premier Govt. organization – there are two satellite launch vehicles, PSLV and GSLV.  PSLV launches IRS type satellites and GSLV launches INSAT type satellites.  GSLV-F06  was  to deploy the 5,093-pound GSAT 5P communications payload.  The 167-foot-tall launcher blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at 04.04 p.m. GSLV was powered by a Russian cryogenic engine.   
                                                                 Photo from

Alas,  it was not a moment to savour as within minutes after lift off, the vehicle veered off its flight path, lost control and engulfed in to a fireball.   Reportedly, GSLV was propelled by a single solid-fueled core motor and four L40 strap-on boosters.  The engines burn hydrazine and their nozzles pivot to steer the rocket during the first two-and-a-half minutes of flight.

The rocket crashed into the Bay of Bengal closer to the launch site.  There have been set backs not for our Nation but even for so called advance Nations.  Nothing political needs to be read in to the failure or its costs as explorations do fail some times.   We heartfully wish ISRO more successes in near future and bigger launches…………

In an added dimension, it is stared that the  cryogenic engine that went up in flames with GSLV-F06 was the sixth of the seven such engines the country had procured from Russia. Post-Pokhran-II,  Russia has denied the supply of such engines and ISRO is looking to  indigenous cryogenic engines  -  the stock pile now is solitary and there are more satellites to be launched in 2011.

It is always touch situations that has brought out best from tough people and am sure that Indian Scientists will succeed.

With regards
S Sampathkumar.

Incidentally, I was in Thiruvallur inside the temple tank around 0405 pm and we could see the rocket first on the sky, then plummeting suddenly and erupting into a fire ball.  Here is a photo taken from the tank.  One can see the trail left by the rocket (see near the temple gopuram)

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