Tag Archives: GSLV

Chandrayaan-2 delayed again, until January 2019

The new colonial movement: ISRO, India’s space agency, has revealed that the launch of its lunar rover/lander Chandrayaan-2 has been delayed from October to Janaury 2019.

Dr M Annadurai, Director of U R Rao Satellite Centre confirmed to NDTV that the launch date for Chandryaan-2 “is slipping to 2019” from the initially planned launch in October this year.

Dr Annadurai said that India’s moon mission now aims to land in February and the rocket launch will take place in January next year.

Moreover, since the weight of the Chandrayaan-2 satellite has increased, Dr Annadurai said that now instead of GSLV MK-II, GSLV MK-III will be used. Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MK-III (GSLV MK-III), also called the ‘The Bahubali’, is India’s heaviest rocket that weighs nearly 640 tons and will be used to hoist the Chandrayaan-2 satellite from India’s rocket port at Sriharikota.

It appears that in building the spacecraft they have not been able to keep its weight low enough, and have been forced to switch launch vehicles, with this switch causing the delay.

The article also provides a tidbit of information about the GLSV MK-III rocket, that they have an real name for it, Bahubali. If so, they should use it. It sells much better than GLSV MK-III.

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India tests upgraded rocket engine

The new colonial movement: India’s space agency ISRO has successfully tested an upgraded version of the Vikas rocket engine it uses in its PSLV and GSLV rockets.

The test was conducted on Sunday, and validated the performance adequacy of Vikas Engine to be used in the upcoming second developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III

Vikas Engine, a workhorse liquid rocket engine designed by the Indian Space Research Organsiation (ISRO), powers the second stage of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) of India. It also powers the second stage and the fourth strap of Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the twin-engine core liquid stage (L110) of GSLV Mk-III.

Essentially India here is doing what SpaceX did with its Merlin engine. Rather than start over with a new engine, they are upgrading it, a process that is faster and less expensive. And as they do it, they remain operational and competitive in the launch market, with as many as five launches now scheduled before the end of 2018.

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India’s GSLV rocket successfully launches military communications satellite

India today successfully launched a military communications satellite using the Mark II version of its large GSLV rocket, the rocket’s fourth successful launch in a row.

Using a combination of liquid and solid-fuelled stages, the GSLV was designed to place communications satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbits. To this end, GSLV has increased performance over the smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), from which it is derived.

GSLV’s first stage consists of a solid-fuelled core, with four radially-mounted liquid-fuelled strap-ons. The strap-ons are part of the first stage, and do not separate from the core. GSLV’s second stage, which is closely related to PSLV’s second stage, burns hypergolic liquid propellants, while the rocket’s third stage uses cryogenic fuel.

…The Mark II, which has a stretched third stage with an Indian engine, first flew in April 2010 but its new engine failed to ignite. The first successful Mk.II launch took place in January 2014. India also has a GSLV Mk.III. However, this is a completely new rocket that reached orbit for the first time last year. Excluding the Mk.III, Thursday’s launch was GSLV’s twelfth flight. In its previous eleven launches, GSLV has recorded six successes, four failures and one partial failure….GSLV’s current run of four consecutive successful launches is the longest that the rocket has achieved.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

8 China
5 SpaceX
3 Japan
3 ULA
3 Russia
2 Europe
2 India

Both Russia and China have scheduled launches for today, with SpaceX having a launch scheduled for tomorrow, so expect these standings to be updated a lot in the next 24 hours.

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India aims to double launches in 2018

The new colonial movement: The head of India’s space agency ISRO said in a newspaper interview today that the agency hopes to more than double the number of launches it completes in 2018, increasing the number to between 10 to 12 launches from the four successful launches in 2017.

“We are targeting 10 to 12 launches next year. The communication satellite GSAT-6A and Chandrayaan-2 mission will be launched by GSLV-Mk-II rockets. The second mission of GSLV-Mk-III rocket with a communication satellite and the launch of navigation satellite also will take place next year”, Kiran Kumar explained.

The much-awaited Chandrayaan-2 mission could be launched in the second quarter of 2018. “The moon lander is ready for the mission and undergoing tests. The flight hardware is getting assembled and going through tests. We are targeting the second quarter of the next year for the launch”, the top scientist said.

The two GSLV launches are critical, as this larger rocket is needed for India to really compete in the international market.

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India’s GSLV rocket successfully launches communications satellite

India’s successfully launched a communications satellite early today using its Mark II GSLV rocket.

Friday’s launch, designated GSLV F09, was the fifth flight of the Mark II GSLV which debuted in April 2010. This replaced the Mark I, which first flew in 2001 and made its final flight at the end of 2010, introducing an Indian-developed third stage engine instead of a Russian-built engine flown on the Mark I. With this new cryogenic propulsion system, the GSLV Mk.II is a fully indigenous vehicle.

The GSLV’s service has been marred by concerns over its reliability – to date only half of its flights have been successful – however last September’s launch of INSAT-3DR saw it achieve three consecutive successes for the first time.

This launch success significantly strengthens ISRO’s ability to sell its launch services worldwide. They now have three different rocket configurations, all entirely home built, and all with a string of launch successes.

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India preparing rover for 2018 Moon landing

The competition heats up: India preparing rover for 2018 Moon landing.

Isro’s Satellite Applications Centre Director, M. Annadurai, revealed the tentative launch schedule while speaking to the press at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Shar, Sriharikota on Wednesday. He said a Lander and a six-wheeled Rover were being prepped to go with the Chandrayaan-II mission. The chief scientist added that a launch is likely to take place in the first quarter of 2018. According to Dr P.V. Venkita Krishnan, the director of the Isro Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri, engineers were currently testing soft-landing engines.

India’s launch of a record 104 satellites on a single rocket has pumped up the Indian press, as there were almost 20 stories on space and that launch in their press today, almost all favorable.

This article however is from the U.S., and takes a look at the ineffective American space policy that supposedly forbids American companies from launching on Indian rockets.

The U.S. Commercial Space Launch Agreement of 2005 prohibits the launch of commercial satellites on the Indian vehicle. The reasoning is that struggling U.S. commercial launch providers needed time to establish themselves in the market and would be wiped out by India’s PSLV, which is developed by the Indian Space Organization.

Since 2015, commercial satellite owners have successfully obtained waivers to the policy.

The article notes India’s competitive prices, as well as the overall state of the smallsat industry and its dependence on bigger rockets as secondary payloads to get into space. India’s rockets, funded and subsidized by the government but also built to be inexpensive so as to attract customers, is clearly positioned to effectively compete with SpaceX, who until now charged the least.

What will our Congress do? My preference would be for them to repeal this part of the 2005 law so that American satellite companies can fly on whoever they wish. That would increase competition but it would also likely invigorate the overall launch industry because it would increase the satellite customer base for those rockets and thus create more business for everyone.

Sadly, I suspect that Congress will instead demand that the waivers to the law cease, and will thus block the use if Indian satellites by American companies. The short-sightedness of our politicians never ceases to surprise me.

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India delays next launch of its largest rocket

India has delayed the next launch of its GSLV rocket from January to no earlier than March in order to conduct tests on the rocket.

This does not change the schedule for the next launch of their smaller PSLV rocket, which is still set for February and will launch a record of over a hundred satellites, most of which are smallsats.

Posted from Tucson Internationa Airport. I am heading to St. Louis today to give a lecture to the local chapter there of the AIAA.

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India’s GSLV rocket successfully launches again

The competition heats up: India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) successfully placed a commercial communications satellite in orbit today.

This is the third successful GSLV launch in a row, indicating that India’s space agency ISRO has finally worked out the kinks of their home-built upper stage and are ready to begin regular and more frequent commercial launches, in direct competition with the world’s big players in the launch industry.

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Successful test of India’s GSLV rocket engine

The competition heats up: India has successfully completed a full duration static hot fire test of the cryogenic engine it is developing for its more powerful GSLV rocket.

The press release is very short and lacking in many details, including any detailed information about the engine being tested. However, this success bodes well for India’s plans to launch a new upgraded GSLV before the end of the year.

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Launch of India’s big rocket a success

The competition heats up: India has successfully launched a military communications satellite using its home-built Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

Because of India’s bad habit of not giving distinct names to its space vehicles or spacecraft, I have discovered a bit a confusion about the version of GSLV that just launched. This rocket was built entirely in India, but it is the Mark II, not the Mark III, which is a significant upgrade and has so far only had one test flight.

Nonetheless, today’s Mark II launch is the second success in a row for the India-built version. Considering the number of failures of this version in the past, this success is a significant milestone for India’s space effort.

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India starts countdown for the launch of its big rocket

The competition heats up: India has begun the countdown for the third launch of its entirely homebuilt Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket.

The launch is set for Thursday, and is attempting for the first time to place an actual payload into orbit, an Indian military communications satellite. Previous launches either failed with earlier versions of the rocket, or were carrying dummy payloads.

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India engine test a success

The competition heats up: India has successfully completed a full duration engine test of its most powerful home-built rocket engine.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully conducted the much-awaited ‘full endurance test’ of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III’s indigenous cryogenic CE-20 engine at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri in the district on Thursday. The CE-20 was ignited and tested for 800 seconds from 5 p.m. to study the performance of the engine though the actual required duration was only 635 seconds.

This success puts them ever closer to creating their own rocket comparable to the Falcon 9 and capable of competing for commercial business in the international launch market.

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India has successful rocket engine test

The competition heats up: India has successfully completed a full duration test of its upgraded cryogenic rocket engine.

This gets them much closer to not only having the ability to launch all of their own geosynchronous satellites, it gets them closer to building a rocket capable of putting human capsules into orbit.

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India’s rocket and manned capsule test flight a success

The competition heats up: India has successfully completed both a test launch of the first stage of its upgraded GSLV rocket as well as the suborbital deployment and splashdown of a test manned capsule.

More details are sure to follow, but at the moment it appears that everything went exactly as planned.

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Countdown begins for the suborbital test flight of India’s new rocket

Link here. The launch is scheduled for 11 pm Eastern tonight.

Thursday’s test launch will check the performance of the GSLV Mk. 3’s first stage and strap-on boosters, which will carry the rocket out of the atmosphere beyond the boundary of space. The launcher’s cryogenic upper stage, which will be active and fueled by liquid hydrogen on future missions, will be dormant on Thursday’s flight.

…After the rocket’s propulsion shuts down, a gumdrop-shaped capsule will separate from the GSLV Mk. 3’s dummy upper segment about five-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, according to the Times of India, another English-language paper in India. The capsule weighs about 8,000 pounds — about 3.6 metric tons. Indian engineers from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. fabricated the car-sized module, and ISRO added sensors, strain gauges, a guidance and control system and a heat shield for the suborbital flight, which is called the Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment, or CARE.

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India’s manned space program

This short article gives us a short but detailed look at India’s plans for manned space, describing both the first test flight of a engineering version of their manned capsule in a little more than a month and the program’s overall goals.

The test flight:

“The first test trial, that of the crew module, will be undertaken in November last week or December first week on the GSLV MK-III,” [Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan told Deccan Herald.] The crew module will be injected into orbit by the GSLV at a height of 110-120 km in space from where it will fall towards the earth and be recovered from sea. Isro will examine how the crew module and thermal shield around it handle the heat and temperatures during re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

Their eventual goal is to put two astronauts in orbit for seven days. To do that they will first have to complete at least four to six test launches of their new GSLV MK-III rocket, which has only completed one successful launch after literally two decades of failures. If successful, the test flight described above will be GSLV’s second successful launch.

Note that because of poor writing the article gives the improper impression that the test flight will be manned. It will not. Also, the article states incorrectly that the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry because “the thermal heat shields could not withstand the heat.” This is false. The heat shield would have worked fine, as it had done on numerous previous launches, except that there were gaping holes in it that were put there by pieces of foam during launch.

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India begins tests of larger rocket engine

The competition heats up: Indian engineers have successfully completed their first tests of a new more powerful upper stage engine for their biggest launch rocket.

Taking a big step forward in the development of bigger and more powerful locally-built rocket engines, the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) on Monday successfully conducted the first ‘cold flow test’ on the CE-20 cryogenic engine, which will power the upper stage of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk III (GSLV-Mk III). “It’s a milestone,” LPSC director Dr K Sivan told ‘Express’ here on Tuesday, confirming that the test had gone as planned at the LPSC facility in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. The first ‘hot test’ – where the engine will be fired for a few seconds- will be performed in three weeks’ time, Sivan said.

In a cold test, the propellants are not ignited. On Monday, the fuel, Liquid Hydrogen (LH2), and the oxidiser, Liquid Oxygen (LOX), were injected into the chambers for the checking of various parameters.

In related news, Mangalyaan has taken another global view of Mars.

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Another succesful rocket launch for India

The competition heats up: India today successfully launched the third of seven home-built GPS satellites.

The head of ISRO, India’s NASA, also noted after the launch that the next test flight of their much larger GSLV rocket should occur within the next six weeks. If things go as expected, that flight will also include a test flight of an engineering prototype of an India-built manned capsule.

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Even as India successfully launched its second homemade GPS satellite today, its space agency ISRO announced that it will launch a test flight of a manned capsule in June using that country’s powerful GSLV rocket.

The competition heats up: Even as India successfully launched its second homemade GPS satellite today, the head of of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in India announced that it will launch a test flight of a manned capsule in June using that country’s powerful GSLV rocket.

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The structural assembly of India’s manned crew module was delivered to its space agency this week.

The competition heats up: The structural assembly of India’s manned crew module was delivered to its space agency this week.

The article is not very informative, but it appears that this is the basic hull and structure of a manned test module that will be outfitted and then flown on a test flight of India’s GSLV rocket.

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After more than a decade of failed attempts, India has finally successfully launched its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

The competition heats up: After more than a decade of failed attempts, India has finally successfully launched its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

Moreover, this rocket was entirely built in India. It now gives that country a rocket competitive in the international communications satellite launch market.

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India has now scheduled January 5 as the date for the test launch of its homebuilt powerful GSLV rocket.

The competition heats up: India has now set January 5 as the date for the test launch of its homebuilt powerful GSLV rocket.

India’s needs this more powerful rocket if they are going to be a serious player in the new colonial movement in space. They have had many problems over the past decade trying to get it operational. Maybe now they will finally succeed.

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India has delayed the first test launch of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from mid-December until the first week in 2014.

India has delayed the first test launch of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from mid-December until the first week in 2014.

This delay appears to be simple prudence. They have no specific deadline for launch, and by giving themselves a few extra weeks they can make sure they have things right. I also have two additional comments.

First, I wish they would give this rocket a decent name. GSLV is not only hard to remember, it is ugly. A better name would help their marketing enormously.

Second, read the comments at the link. They are all from Indians, and the majority of them are very enthused. It will give you a sense of that country’s passion for technology and science.

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A fundamental design failure appears to be the cause of the fuel leak that caused the launch postponement of India’s first home-made geosynchronous powered rocket in August.

The complete failure of the fuel tank appears to be the cause of the massive leak that caused the launch postponement of India’s first home-made geosynchronous powered rocket in August.

Mr. Radhakrishnan [head of India’s space agency] said while the expert committee had attributed the fuel leak to stress corrosion cracking of the tank filled with propellants, exactly why this happened was “a research problem” that remains to be investigated. The next GSLV mission will switch to a better aluminium alloy material for its propellant tanks.

Up to now the reports have been somewhat vague about the cause of what was clearly an extensive leak. This story tells us that the tank essentially failed. As they filled it with propellants, cracks apparently showed up everywhere, with fuel spewing out in all directions. As far as I can remember, I don’t think there has ever been a rocket tank failure quite this spectacular.

This suggests there were fundamental design flaws in the tank or very serious quality control problems in its manufacture. With the next launch attempt scheduled for December 15, I hope India has identified the source of this incredibly basic problem and taken action to prevent it from happening again.

Update: Reader Patrick Ritchie found this older article which suggests the failed tank was an old tank of a design that was “prone for delayed cracks”. The error here then was in using this substandard old equipment rather than a newer tank.

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India has now rescheduled the launch of its home-built GSLV rocket for December 15.

India has now rescheduled the launch of its home-built GSLV rocket for December 15.

The launch of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which was deferred on August 19 following a flaw in the rocket, will take place on December 15, ISRO head said here today. “The launch of GSLV D5 satellite which was postponed on August 19 about two hours before liftoff after detection of a fuel leak in the rockets’ second stage will now be held on December 15,” ISRO chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan said at an interactive session with students and teachers here.

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India space officials have decided to completely replace the second stage of the GSLV rocket that leaked during the rocket’s scrubbed launch last month.

India’s space agency has decided to completely replace the second stage of the GSLV rocket that leaked during the rocket’s scrubbed launch last month.

“Although the exact reasons for the leakage in the second stage of the engine, which prevented the launch on August 19, are being probed by the team headed by K Narayanan, it has been decided that a new liquid second stage (GS-2) will be assembled to replace the leaked stage,” said the official. He added that the process of assembling has begun, and that besides the GS-2, all the four liquid strap-on stages are being replaced with new ones.

That leak must have been quite significant for them to make this decision.

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