India’s popularity among the space-faring nations took a giant leap on Thursday with the national space agency – Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) – successfully launching the first operational flight of GSLV Mk-II using home-grown cryogenic rocket technology, which only a few in the world have able to master. ISRO proudly declared that it has mastered the cryogens and is no longer ‘scared’.
But before the triumph, there was a hiccup. Due to an anomaly while filling fuel into cryogenic engine, the lift-off was delayed by 40 minutes. The initial launch was scheduled at 4.10 pm and the vehicle took off at 4.40 pm from the second launch pad. But, it registered zero difference in inclination, which is a rarity. Putting it in perspective with reference to past failures, ISRO officials said, the “naughty boy has turned out to be an adorable boy today”. This is the first hat-trick of GSLV and the seventh successful launch this year.
Designated as Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS)-07 flown onboard GSLV-Fo5 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, the vehicle placed the 2,211 kg advanced meteorological satellite INSAT-3DR in its intended geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) after 17 minutes of journey.
The mission catapulted India into the multi-billion dollar commercial launcher market on a fully indigenous large rocket. ISRO declared that GSLV-F05 is fully operational and it is exploring new avenues to attract business. India becomes the sixth nation in the world after US, Russia, Japan, China and France to have tasted success with an indigenous cryogenic engine.
Congratulating the team, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar said this successful launch gave ISRO engineers confidence to approach the first developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III using a more powerful cryogenic engine in December-January. “We are intending to conduct two GSLV Mk II launches every year. We have a large number of satellites in the line-up to put them into orbit using GSLV Mk II, including the SAARC satellite, Chandrayaan-2 and the ISRO-NASA missions,” he said.
The private sector played an important role in development of cryogenic technology and was associated with the ISRO from the start. For example, Godrej set up the rotary vacuum brazing facility in Mumbai. Brazing was a key and difficult technology, and setting up the facility took more than a year. MTAR Technologies Pvt Ltd made the turbo pump and some other components.
Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) S Somanath, who was earlier heading GSLV, said ISRO was now very confident about GSLV and the cryogens. “After the failure of our first mission GSLV D3 in 2010, we did a detailed analysis of the problem and lot of tests were done and the three consecutive successes were a result of that. The knowledge base has improved significantly,” he said.
GSLV D3 failed to reach orbit due to a malfunction in the Fuel Booster Turbo Pump (FBTP) of the cryogenic upper stage. The next GSLV F06 mission same year was also a failure and the range safety officer has to destroy it after loss of control over liquid-fueled boosters. Later, GSLV D5 scheduled for August 2013 was aborted and rescheduled for January 2014 after a leak was spotted in the eleventh hour. Since then, ISRO never looked back and reached a stage where Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial wing of ISRO, is putting the GSLV before the world as credible vehicle ready for commercial launches.
Courtesy: The New Indian Express