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Rediff.com  » News » GSLV mission fails, rocket explodes in midair

GSLV mission fails, rocket explodes in midair

Last updated on: December 25, 2010 18:41 IST

Image: The GSLV blasts off carrying the communication satellite GSAT- 5P from the Satish Dhawan space centre in Sriharikota
Photographs: Babu/Reuters

In a jolt to India's space programme on Saturday, the launch of a communication satellite aboard a home-grown vehicle failed after the rocket exploded midair minutes after the lift-off from the spaceport in Sriharikota.

The mission, aimed at putting India in a club of countries with the technology to put heavy satellites in orbit, failed when the rocket developed a snag soon after lift-off in the first stage itself.

GSLV mission fails, rocket explodes in mid

Image: The GSLV blasts off carrying the communication satellite GSAT- 5P from the Satish Dhawan space centre in Sriharikota
Photographs: Babu/Reuters

GSAT-5P, carrying 24 C-band and 12 extended C-band transponders, was meant for augmenting communication services currently provided by the Indian National Satellite System.

Built at Rs.125 crore, the satellite was to replace the INSAT-2E that was sent up more than a decade ago. The rocket blasted-off at approximately 4 pm from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at the end of the 29-hour countdown but was hit by a snag in the first stage itself, ISRO sources said.

GSLV mission fails, rocket explodes in midair

Image: The GSLV carrying the communication satellite GSAT- 5P explodes mid-air, moments after it took off from Satish Dhawan space centre in Sriharikota
Photographs: Babu/Reuters

"The incident occurred in the first stage itself," the sources said, adding that details would be disclosed later.

This is the second failure this year for ISRO after the previous (Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle) GSLV mission with the country's maiden cryogenic engine hit a snag and the rocket plunged into the Bay of Bengal on April 15 this year.

GSLV mission fails, rocket explodes in midair

Image: The GSLV carrying the communication satellite GSAT- 5P explodes mid-air, moments after it took off from Satish Dhawan space centre in Sriharikota
Photographs: Babu/Reuters

ISRO had postponed the December 20 launch of the Geo-Stationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F06), in its seventh mission, after a minor leak was noticed in the Russian Cryogenic engine during the pre-countdown checks.

The last GSLV mission (GSLV-D3) failed after the malfunctioning of indigenous cryogenic stage, dampening the country's hopes of joining the elite club of five nations with such capability.