Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh (ISJ): Indian space scientists and engineers on Sunday (Jan 05) achieved another milestone by launching the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle GSLV-D5, powered by indigenously developed cryogenic engine to place a communication satellite in the geosynchronous orbit.
"We have done it," declared Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, chief of Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO when the satellite was separated from the launch vehicle after the lift off at 1418 Hours from the spaceport at Satish Dhavan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Amidst clapping of hands by scientists and engineers, Dr. Radhakrishnan said "twenty years of efforts in realising the cryogenic engine and stage has now been fructified".
"The Indian cryogenic engine and stage performed as predicted and expected for this mission and injected precisely the GSAT-14 communication satellite into the transfer orbit. This is a major achievement for the GSLV programme and I would say, this is an important stage for science and technology in the country, the space technology in the country," declared an elated Dr. Radhakrishnan.
The successful feat was achieved after two earlier attempts to launch GSLV-D5 in April 2010 and August 2013 had to be called off following detection of leak in the liquid fuel tank. Scientists and engineers had to refurbish the launch vehicle for the third launch, redesigning the 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 during flight.
"Toiling of 20 years, excoriating efforts of the last three-and-a-half years after the first test flight of the cryogenic engine and stage and all the efforts by the team ISRO for the last few years have paid off," remarked the ISRO chief.
For Dr. Radhakrishnan, this is the second major success in space missions in recent time. Last year, ISRO launched the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan to study the Martian surface, atmosphere and exosphere extending up to 80,000 km for a detailed understanding of the evolution of the planet, especially the related geologic and the possible biogenic processes on the Red Planet.
GSLV-D5 is the eighth flight of India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV. It is also the fourth developmental flight of GSLV, launching the 1982 kg communication satellite GSAT-14 into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). GSAT-14 will help provide many satellite-based communication services to the country, including tele-education and telemedicine.
GSAT-14 is the 23rd geostationary communication satellite built by ISRO. With the launch, GSAT-14 joins the group of India?s nine operational geostationary satellites. It will augment the in-orbit capacity of extended C and Ku-band transponders and provide a platform for new experiments.
The cuboid shaped GSAT-14 has a lift-off mass of 1982 kgs and the dry mass of 851 kgs. Its structure is based on ISRO's 2-ton class platform. The two solar arrays, each with two panels, together generate about 2600 W of power, while the light weight Lithium-Ion batteries supply power during eclipse period.
India bought seven cryogenic engines from Russia, but felt the necessity to develop its own cryogenic engine braving the technology denial regime after the 1998 Pokharan nuclear test.
Cryogenics, the science of extremely low temperatures, has posed a challenge to rocket scientists across the world. A cryogenic engine uses a cryogenic fuel or oxidiser or both are gases liquefied and stored in low temperatures.