The recent failure(so-called) of India’s GSLV has sent the electronic media into a tizzy. Experts and analysts finally got an opportunity to be on the 9 o’ clock news and feed the audience with heavy doses of rocket science. Every few seconds this breaking news would be splashed across the screen. And in case you missed one show, news channels would telecast them over and over again until they caught hold of another breaking news! 😛
So, for a moment, let us forget about the failure and concentrate on getting the facts right. So, what is a GSLV?? GSLV stands for Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle. In simpler terms, this is a rocket that launches satellites into the earth’s Geo-Stationary Orbit. This orbit lies directly above the equator and it has a period which is equal to the Earth’s rotational period. This means that an object situated in this orbit, would appear motionless to a viewer on Earth. This single characteristic makes this Geo-Stationary orbit invaluable to scientists all over the world. So, essentially if we can put up our satellite in this orbit, it would appear stationary to us. Hence, we can set up an antenna and make it point in a fixed direction and never bother about anything else.
Launching a satellite into an orbit that is 35,000 kms away is definitely not an easy task. First of all, huge quantities of propellants are required to help the rocket break away from the Earth’s gravitational force. The GLSV has 3 stages to provide the required thrust and propel the vehicle. Out of them, the third stage is the most critical and the most difficult one. In GLSV, cryogenic engines provide this stage. The cryogenic engine uses liquid oxygen & liquid hydrogen as fuel as it releases a huge amount of energy during combustion. What makes the GSLV’s cryogenic engine special is that this was indigenously developed by our very own scientists after the other nations refused to part with the technology. It is indeed a feather in the cap of ISRO.
But even after such meticulous planning, the GSLV launch was not successful. Scientists are analyzing the reasons for the failure and they suspect that there must have been a glitch in the ignition of the cryogenic engines. Since the necessary thrust was not available on time, the rocket must have lost control and fallen into the sea.
This must have definitely been a huge disappointment to the hundreds of scientists behind the GSLV. But, this is once again a great learning experience. Such failures will help India build more robust and reliable rockets in future.
And as i complete the finishing touches to this post, I’m reminded of a famous quote,
“Man proposes, God Disposes”
Was it written keeping this is mind?? I wonder….
Post by @_nandini