Leak stalls GSLV launch

The launch of Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F06) with the satellite GSAT-5P on board, slated to take place from Sriharikota at 4.01 p.m. on Monday (December 20), has been postponed. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) took this decision after its rocket technologists detected on Saturday evening the leak of helium gas from one of the valves in the Russian upper cryogenic stage of the vehicle. The leak rate was on the higher side. The leak was noticed during the pre-countdown check of the vehicle.

The Launch Authorisation Board, which met at the spaceport at Sriharikota on Sunday morning, therefore, decided not to give the go-ahead to the 29-hour countdown which was to begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

A high-ranking ISRO rocket engineer said: “We have to find out the real cause for the leak of helium from one of the valves in the upper cryogenic stage. The leak rate was slightly on the higher side. We have to do some testing to make sure that the leak rate is acceptable. We found out the problem during the pre-countdown checks before the cryogenic propellants – liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen – were pumped into the cryogenic stage.” He argued that the leak was a common problem. He was confident the problem would be resolved and that the GSLV-F06 would lift off in two to three days’ time.

The GSLV-F06 has three stages. The core first stage uses solid propellants. Four booster motors, powered by liquid propellants, are strapped to the core first stage. The second stage uses liquid propellants. The third upper cryogenic stage is from Russia.

The GSAT-5P is a satellite with 36 transponders which can be used for beaming television and radio programmes and telephonic conversations, for conducting telemedicine and tele-education programmes and organising banking services.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 5:11:23 PM |

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