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ISRO launches GSLV 'Naughty boy' rocket in space

With two failed attempts to launch in 2010, scientists at ISRO had named the GSLV 'naughty boy'; yesterday it turned into an obedient boy and put a communication satellite in orbit

India yesterday joined the select league of space-faring nationswith indigenous cryogenic engine technology, successfully launching its rocket -- endearingly called the naughty boy for its earlier waywardness -- that put a communication satellite in orbit. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed it “yet another important step”.

The successful launch of India’s heavier rocket -- the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-D5 (GSLV-D5) --  not only means the indigenous cryogenic engine has performed well but would also pave way for sizeable savings for the country in future launch costs. It also opens up a window to earn foreign exchange from launching heavier foreign satellites. The communication satellite will be used for telemedicine and tele-education services.

The Indian space scientists’ toil of around two decades in conceiving the more efficient cryogenic engine technology, which provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant, spending around Rs 400 crore has come to fruition with the delivery of the GSAT-14 in the outer space.

At 4:18 pm, GSLV-D5 rocket with a deep roar rose into the sky on a tail of an orange flame, breaking away from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here. Around 17 minutes into the space flight, the 49.13-metre tall, 414.75-tonne GSLV-D5 rocket slung the 1,982-kg GSAT-14 in the intended orbit.

Manmohan Singh described it as “yet another important step the country has taken in the area of science and technology”.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was to launch this rocket last August but aborted the blast-off just hours before the deadline as fuel started leaking from its second stage or engine.

ISRO’s scientists at the mission control centre were visibly happy with Sunday’s blast-off. ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishan said: “The Indian cryogenic engine and stage performed as predicted and as expected for the mission and injected GSAT-14 in its intended orbit.”

Earlier attempts

An ecstatic S Ramakrishnan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, said, “At ISRO we used to call GSLV as naughty boy. But today the naughty boy is a very obedient boy.” The reference was to two earlier attempts to launch the GSLV in 2010, which failed. As the rocket zoomed away, a former space scientist could barely contain his joy in Kerala.

Three-stage rocket

The Sunday launch success is sweet for the Indian space fraternity as it comes after successful launch of Mars Orbiter last year. The GSLV is a three stage/engine rocket. The core of first stage is fired with solid fuel while the four strap-on motors by liquid fuel. The second is the liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine.

Rs 220 cr

The cost of GSLV-D5 

Rs 145 cr

The cost of GSAT-14 that went up Sunday evening

4:18 pm

GSLV-D5 rocket rose into the evening sky breaking away from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre 

1,982 kg

The weight of the GSAT-14 satellite 

49.13m

The height of the GSLV-D5 rocket 

414.75 tonne

Weight of the GSLV-D5 rocket 

Did you know?

The cuboid shaped Rs 145 crore GSAT-14 is India’s 23rd geostationary satellites built by ISRO. It has a life span of 12 years. It carries six extended C-band and Ku-band transponders (receivers and transmitters of signals), and two Ka-band beacons.

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