Thursday, April 19, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

GSLV blasts off into space

Sriharikota, April 18
Three weeks after the aborted mission, India’s first developmental flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D1) blasted off successfully, carrying the country into an elite club of nations and into a multibillion-dollar commercial satellite launch business.

Exactly 1040 seconds after take off from the Sriharikota High Altitude Range (SHAR), the spacecraft hurled the experimental communication satellite GSAT-1 successfully into orbit.

The 401-tonne, 49.1-metre-tall spacecraft carrying the 1540-kg experimental satellite lifted off from the launch pad at 3.43 p.m., as planned, unlike March 28, when the launch was automatically aborted due to failure of one of the four liquid strap-on engines.

The vehicle soared into the clear sky in a “perfect blast off”, much to the relief and excitement of the entire ISRO team that was waiting with its fingers crossed till the last second before the lift-off.

Shortly after the successful flight mission, the ISRO Chairman, Dr K. Kasturirangan, said, “It was the longest 17 minutes in our life. It was also the most exciting and wonderful 17 minutes in our life”. The velocity and the trajectory of the vehicle were exactly as planned, he said.

The satellite payload was successfully injected into a Geosynchronus Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee (closest to earth) of 180 km and an apogee (farthest to earth) of 35975 km, 1040 seconds after the lift-off.

A visibly relieved and elated Dr Kasturirangan said, “It is a quantum jump in the country’s satellite launching capabilities”. The vital part of today’s mission was the testing of the most important cryogenic stage (third and final) which successfully helped in hurling the payload into the GTO as programmed.

The success of the mission also marked India’s entry into the elite club of five nations — USA, Russia, European Union, China and Japan — which have already crossed the geostationary milestone.

The success opens up immense commercial possibilities for India in the highly lucrative multi-billion dollar global satellite launch business.

Besides geostationary transfer orbit missions, the  GSLV can also undertake polar and Leo missions.

The March 28 setback was caused by a defective plumbing in the oxydiser flowline of one of the four liquid strap-on engines in the first stage of the three-stage vehicle.

The mission got automatically aborted just a second before lift-off when the defective engine did not generate the required thrust upon ignition.

The re-launch was carried out today after replacing the defective strap on engine.

The GSLV, which is designed to carry a payload of 2000 kg and above, will be formally inducted into the country’s satellite launch system after two successful test flights. Meanwhile, ISRO is making intensive efforts to develop India’s own cryogenic engine which is expected to be ready by 2003.

The GSLV-D1 uses an imported Russian cryogenic engine in the most critical third and final stage. Today’s mission was mainly intended to validate the various systems of the newly developed vehicle in an actual flight. These include several propulsion systems, avionics, control and guidance system, and stage and spacecraft separation system.

Today’s launch was the country’s 15th satellite launch vehicle mission and the 10th successful one. Of the earlier missions, one was partially successful and four, including the original launch attempt of GSLV-D1 on March 28, were failures.

Bangalore: The ground station of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at Brunei picked up signals from G-SAT-1, the experimental communication satellite launched successfully by the first ever developmental Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D1) on Wednesday. PTI, UNIBack


Launch signals new chapter in space history: PM

New Delhi, April 18
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today described the successful launch of the GSLV as a new chapter in the history of the country’s space endeavours and said India could look ahead to the day when her scientists will be launching spacecraft not only to orbit the earth but also into the far space beyond.

“Today is a proud day for India. The entire nation is thrilled by the successful GSLV launch, which will put into orbit the GSAT-I satellite”, Mr Vajpayee said in a message to the nation. “As the GSLV blazes its way into the sky, it writes a shining new chapter in the history of India’s space endeavours”, he added.

The Prime Minister joined all countrymen in heartily congratulating the personnel of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and all other institutions involved in the successful launch.

Mr Vajpayee urged Indian scientists to discover newer applications of space technology for the welfare of the global community.

Mr Vajpayee said India’s space programme had faced many obstacles to its advancement but with determination and competence, the scientists and engineers had succeeded in indigenously developing what was denied from elsewhere.

“This shows that the spirit of ‘swavalamban’ or self-reliance can help us overcome the stiffest of challenges in every sphere of nation-building.”

The Prime Minister said having tested the GSLV, the space scientists should make it operational for launching the Insat type of satellites.

The Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi said today was a red letter day in the history of progress of science and technology in India with the country joining the distinguished club of a few countries which possess the ability to position satellites in geo-stationary orbits.

“This remarkable accomplishment of Indian space scientists with the successful launch of GSLV today has done every Indian proud. It is yet another landmark in harnessing science and technology for the benefit of common man. Our country’s established ability to make use of outer space for advancing the cause of common man will pay rich dividends in the context of emerging knowledge society.”

The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, said the successful launching of the GSLV will open up great vistas of a technological revolution through the establishment of indigenous capability for launching communication satellites like Insat. UNI

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