ISRO puts on hold moon mission Chandrayaan 2

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided to review the entire Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) programme that involved two crashes last year and one in 2006.

As a result, all major launches, including the second moon mission – Chandrayaan 2 – are being rescheduled. The space agency had earlier announced that it would be using the last of the seven cryogenic engines it had sourced from Russia, but is now uncertain about it.

A meeting of the Space Commission on June 1 is expected to advice the ISRO on the future course of the GSLV, ISRO chairman Dr K. Radhakrishnan said on Saturday. “We want to make GSLV a reliable vehicle,” Radhakrishnan said, adding that the reassessment of the programme is priority work considering its importance in future missions.

The derailment of the GSLV programme is going to affect the launch of Chandrayaan-2, which now stands postponed by nearly two years. It will now be launched in 2014. The next flight of GSLV with an Indian cryogenic engine is now slated for 2012. If successful, it will be used for the second moon mission in 2014.

A modified version of GSLV is the preferred vehicle for the yet-to-be cleared manned mission to moon too, for which critical technology and human safety features are being developed, scientists said. According to Radhakrishnan, the 2012-GSLV flight will be a litmus test for the space agency. “On that flight we don’t want to put a high-technology satellite,” he said. He informed that the launch vehicle will carry a two-tonne communication satellite called GSAT 6. If that goes well then another two-tonne satellite, GSAT 7, will be put into orbit using the GSLV.

A panel led by former ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair has done a failure analysis of the crash of GSLV-F06 flight on December 25 last year and identified a design problem in the shroud at the bottom of the Russian-made cryogenic stage. Cryogenic technology holds importance as it is crucial for economic and efficient launch of heavy satellites.

The Christmas day fiasco had closely followed the crash of GSLV with an Indian cryogenic phase on its test flight on April 15 last year. “The problem involved a faulty fuel pump and the precision mechanics of its motor is being tweaked by ISRO experts,” Radhakrishnan said.

Earlier, the GSLV-F02 that launched INSAT-4C on July 10, 2006 was unsuccessful too. All the seven flights of GSLV so far have been reviewed by a panel led by former ISRO chairman K. Kasturirangan. The panel submitted its report in the last week of April.

A third panel that includes veteran scientists Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Prof MGK Menon and Prof Yashpal is reviewing the two reports together and will advise ISRO accordingly, Radhakrishnan said. He added that the Russian space agency that supplied the seven cryogenic upper stages has acknowledged ISRO’s concern regarding the design problem in GSLV- F06. S. Ramakrishnan, director of ISRO Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre at Valiamala, said that the problem had been noticed earlier too, though it did not cause an accident.

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Posted by pilotpaul on May 16 2011. Filed under All News, Space. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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