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GSLV delay to leave us spaced out


7 Apr 2011
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India’s key satellite launch project, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) programme, is ironically posing delays for the country’s space programme. The back-to-back failure of the GSLV launches in April and December 2010 has forced the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to conduct a complete audit of the programme.

Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan on Saturday said that following the failure of theGSLV (D3) and GSLV-F06, Isro’s focus would be to audit the GSLV programme and “find its vulnerabilities” before future launches.

The GSLV programme suffered a setback when the GSLV (D3) and GSLV-F06 suffered back-to-back failures with the rockets plunging into Bay of Bengal minutes after the respective launches.
The space agency’s future launches, which include the Chandrayaan-2, the second unmanned mission to Moon, and the prestigious Human Space Programme are scheduled to be launched onboard the GSLV rockets. Although Radhakrishnan said the two key missions were on schedule, he reiterated that ISRO’s priority was to ensure that the GSLV is a reliable vehicle.
On the GSLV-F06 failure, he said the GSLV review committee, headed by former Isro chairman K Kasturirangan, and a failure analysis committee, headed by Madhavan Nair (Radhakrishnan’s predecessor), had already submitted their reports to the space commission, which will review them on May 24.

“Failure of the shroud (cover) at the bottom of the Russian cryogenic stage has been identified as the main reason for the mishap,” said Radhakrishnan.

On the GSLV Mk-III, which is being conceived and designed to make Isro self-reliant in launching four tonne-plus weighing communication satellites of INSAT-4 class, he said static testing is currently ongoing and it would continue till 2012.

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