5 facts about Isro's successful launch of 'naughty boy' GSLV-D5

What is GSLV?

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is a launch system which has been develeoped by Isro (Indian Space Research Organisation). It was introduced so that India would be able to launch its INSAT satellites into geostationary orbit, which will in turn help India become less dependent on foreign satellites.

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. The cost of the Indian GSLV is Rs 220 crore.

GSLV-D5. Image courtesy Isro

GSLV-D5. Image courtesy Isro

What is the geostationary orbit?

Geostationary orbit is a circular orbit 35,786 kilometers (22,236 mi) above the Earth’s equator, and which following the direction of the Earth’s rotation. Communications satellites and weather satellites are often given geostationary orbits, so that the satellite antennas that communicate with them do not have to move to track them, but can be pointed permanently at the position in the sky where they stay.

Why is this India's fourth attempt at launching the GSLV-D5?

Launching a GSLV with an indigenous cryogenic engine has been a major challenge for ISRO since 2001 after multiple unsuccessful attempts. Only two of a total of seven attempts succeeded, four were a failure and another a partial success.

GSLV D5's scheduled launch on Aug 19 last year was called off in the eleventh hour after a fuel leak, following which ISRO moved the vehicle back to the Vehicle Assembly Building and rectified the defect.

Today's launch is India's eighth flight of GSLV and also the fourth developmental flight of GSLV. During this flight, the indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) was flight tested for the second time.

How was a successful launch ensured this time? 

ISRO officials had been extremely vigilant in tightening loose ends this time around to avoid an unsuccessful attempt.

Design modifications were implemented wherever required in the launch vehicle along with thorough ground testing and

The modifications included redesigning of Lower Shroud, which protects the cryogenic engine during atmospheric flight of GSLV-D5 and redesigning of the wire tunnel of the cryo stage to withstand larger forces in flight.

The national space agency also performed two 'Acceptance Tests for flight unit of Fuel Booster Turbo Pump (FBTP), High
altitude tests to confirm the ignition sequence in flight under vacuum, to validate design improvements and Cryogenic
Main Engine (200 sec) and Steering Engine (100 sec) acceptance tests at Main Engine Test and High Altitude Test.

What else do we need to know about the GSLV-D5? 

GSAT-14 would join the group of India's nine operational geostationary satellites.The primary objective of this mission

is to augment the in-orbit capacity of extended C and Ku-band transponders and provide a platform for new experiments.

The GSAT-14 will be positioned at 74 degree East longitude and co-located with INSAT-3C, INSAT-4CR and KALPANA-1 satellites.

The 12 communication transponders onboard GSAT-14 will further augment the capacity in the INSAT/GSAT system.

ISRO's Cryogenic Upper Stage Project envisaged the design and development of the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage to replace the stage procured from Russia and used in GSLV flights, according to ISRO.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jan 06, 2014 08:16 AM

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