India’s first Earth Imaging Satellite EOS-03 meant for the geostationary orbit failed to reach its orbit as the launch vehicle failed in its third stage, much to the dismay of the country. The Indian Space Research Organisation suffered a setback this morning when the GSLV-F10 rocket carrying the satellite malfunctioned about five minutes from the lift-off.
ISRO in a short update shared, “Performance of first and second stages was normal. However, Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen due to technical anomaly. The mission couldn’t be accomplished as intended.”
GSLV-F10 launch took place today at 0543 Hrs IST as scheduled. Performance of first and second stages was normal. However, Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen due to technical anomaly. The mission couldn’t be accomplished as intended.— ISRO (@isro) August 12, 2021
Cryogenic stage fails to ignite
As per the Indian Express report, ISRO has faced a few difficulties with the cryogenic stage earlier in some previous missions as well. ISRO in its update mentioned that their ‘Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen.’ The cryogenic upper stage has an indigenously developed cryogenic engine, which is fuelled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen at very low temperatures.
The role of the cryogenic stage is to provide greater thrust to propel heavier rockets like GSLV-F10 that are designed to carry bigger payloads into space. However, the extremely low temperatures needed (hundreds of degrees Celsius below zero) to maintain make these much more complex than conventional liquid and solid propellants.
A technical anomaly in this stage resulted in the failure of the mission. This was the 14th launch involving a GSLV rocket and the fourth failure with the last one happening way back in 2010.
This was the first launch in about six months with several missions delayed due to the pandemic. The launch of EOS-03 was initially planned for March 2020 but had to be put off, first because of some technical glitches, and then due to the pandemic.
The 51.70-metre tall rocket GSLV-F10/EOS-03 had successfully lifted off from the second launch pad on Thursday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota as planned at 05.43 hrs soon after the 26-hour countdown concluded.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan informed, “(The mission) could not be fully accomplished mainly because there is a technical anomaly observed in the cryogenic stage. This I wanted to tell to all my friends.”
The EOS-03 satellite
The EOS-03 is part of the new generation of earth-observation satellites. The satellite will be capable of obtaining vital information for application in different sectors including agriculture, forestry and water bodies.
It is also equipped to give disaster warnings, cyclone monitoring, cloudburst, or thunderstorm monitoring. It also said that this earth observation satellite would provide real-time images of the country and borders.
Other missions involving GSLV rockets are planned for this and next year.