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GSLV-D3 Launch Fails

It was a big moment for India - the launch of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). But minutes into launch, there was crisis with the indigenous cryogenic engine underperforming and the rocket deviating from its path. The worst fears had come true. The mission was a failure.

Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3), blasts off carrying the communication satellite GSAT-4 from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, about 100 km from Chennai, on Thursday.

The ISRO chairman announced that the rocket had spun out of control and that the cryogenic engine may have ignited. He promised another attempt next year.

The cost of the mission was Rs 330 crore. The tall and majestic GSLV, if launched successfully, would have marked India's entry into the multi-billion dollar commercial launcher market on a fully indigenous rocket. A sophisticated new Indian technology called the cryogenic engine was being flown for the first time. In the five earlier flights, India had used pre used imported Russian made cryogenic engines. It was this engine that underperformed.

The Indian-made Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, at 50 meters tall would be as high as a 25-storey building, and weighing a whopping 416 tons. It is a three-stage rocket.

The powerful booster technology using supercooled liquid fuel is designed to put heavier satellites into high orbits, about 36,000 kilometres (22,000 miles) from Earth.

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