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GSLV fires on all cylinders
Places INSAT-4CR in orbit
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Sriharikota, September 2
In spite of initial hiccups due to a technical snag, India’s largest rocket GSLV-F04, carrying communication satellite INSAT-4CR, was launched successfully at 6.20 pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) here today.

The 2,130-kg INSAT-4CR was placed in the geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) at an altitude of 248 km around 17 minutes after the liftoff.

The launch, scheduled for 4.21 pm, was halted only 15 seconds before the liftoff after the computer detected a technical snag. The launch was first delayed by 50 minutes but it stretched over to two hours.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Madhavan Nair said: “I heartily congratulate my colleagues for the successful launch of GSLV-F04.”

The successful launch of GSLV-F04, which carries INSAT-4CR satellite with 12 high-power KU-band transponders, will revolutionise television industry in the country.

The transponders are for direct-to-home (DTH) television services, video transmission, digital satellite news gathering and will cater to other high-bit rate data transmissions with a footprint covering the Indian mainland.

Scientists here eagerly awaited the launch of the fifth flight of India’s GSLV series as the previous launch in July last year was aborted midway after it veered off path due to sudden loss of thrust in one of the four liquid propellant strap-on stages.

Tension mounted as the launch was halted and delayed for two hours.

However, there was jubilation among scientists who watched the rocket go into the space on the right trajectory.

This is the first INSAT 4 series satellite to be launched from India, with the previous two - INSAT 4A and INSAT 4B - being launched on board the European Ariane launch vehicle.

The 49 metre, 414 tonne GSLV-FO4 is a three-stage vehicle comprising two liquid propellant stages and a final cryogenic stage that puts the satellite in its geosynchronous transfer orbit.

The satellite will be manoeuvered to its 36,000 km-high geosynchronous orbit (GSO) by firing liquid apogee Motor (LAM) on board of the satellite in the subsequent days. It will have a mission life of 11 years.

This successful launch will provide a fillip to the DTH service providers, who suffered a setback on their rollout of services as planned due to the failure in the previous attempt.

Many television service providers in the country had to postpone their foray into the DTH sector because of the earlier failure.

To avoid the fate of FO2 last year, a failure analysis committee was constituted and former SDSC director K. Narayana was appointed its head.

The committee had suggested recommendations to implement strict control on all fabrication, inspection and acceptance, which was implemented by the ISRO.

Today’s launch of GSLV-F04, carrying 18th satellite in the INSAT series, was delayed by a day due to poor weather conditions here.

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