Big setback to ISRO’s satellite launch, GSLV Rocket malfunctions 5 minutes after take off

by Joseph K. Clark

While the ISRO has previously faced difficulties with the cryogenic engine, it has nevertheless successfully launched the satellites on most occasions. (Credit: R Senthil Kumar/PTI)

In an unfortunate incident, an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) suffered the loss of a vital earth observation satellite at its launch this morning. The satellite could not be successfully launched due to the malfunctioning of the GSLV Rocket, which was carrying the satellite only five minutes after its take-off, the Indian Express reported.

What was the mission all about?


The launch was aimed at placing the EOS-03 earth observation satellite into a geostationary orbit. About five minutes after taking off of the satellite, the GSLV rocket malfunctioned, leading to the failure of the launch. The ISRO said that the missile’s performance was alright during the first and second stages in a preliminary statement. Still, the genie Upper Stage ignition did not take place successfully due to a technical glitch. It further said that the mission could not be accomplished as it was envisaged.

What is the function of Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition?

The satellite had an indigenously developed cryogenic engine to propel the heavy rockets to the atmosphere with excellent efficiency. The machine is filled with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen at a shallow temperature. The shallow-temperature aspect of such engines also makes them more complex than the conventional liquid and solid propellants. The extremely low-temperature hundreds of degrees below zero degree celsius have to be maintained for the successful functioning of the rocket. While the ISRO has previously faced difficulties with the cryogenic engine, it has nevertheless successfully launched the satellites on most occasions.

According to the Indian Express, the satellite launch which failed today was the 14th launch involving a GSLV rocket, and three such launches have previously failed. The missile used in today’s launch-Mark-II version of GSLV- was last used successfully by the space agency in the launch of a communication satellite in 2018, and it was way back in 2010 when the same rocket faltered.

Challenges before ISRO

With the backlog of several missions worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, the unsuccessful launch of the satellite is a significant setback for the space agency. The EOS-03 satellite was initially planned to be launched in March 2020 but got delayed due to some technical glitch and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Use of EOS-03 satellite

One of the new generation Earth-observation satellites, EOS-03’s launch, was crucial as it was envisaged to provide almost real-time images of a large part of the country. The real-time images of the country would have been utterly helpful in predicting and monitoring natural disasters like floods, cyclones and recording accurate data about the forest cover and the crop cover in the country.

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