The 29-hour countdown for the launch of Isro’s rejuvenated Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) commenced at 11:18 am on Saturday at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
“The 29-hour countdown for tomorrow’s launch at 4:18 pm of GSLV-D5 carrying 1,980 kg GSAT-14 communication satellite commenced,” Isro spokesperson Deviprasad Karnik said. The GSLV-D5’s first mission attempt was aborted at the eleventh hour on August 19 last year due to a fuel leakage.
The 29-hour countdown to the launch of India's indigenously developed geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle-D5 (GSLV-D5), scheduled for blast off on Sunday afternoon from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) in Sriharikota is progressing smoothly, said officials on Saturday.
“The countdown, which started at 11:18 am, is progressing well and the process of filling liquid propellant to the rocket is in progress,” a senior Isro official told Deccan Herald on Saturday.
According to Isro, the Rs 356 crore launch mission has dual purpose – to flight test the cryogenic engine designed and built by Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and to put communication satellite GSAT-14 into orbit.
The official said liquid propellants were being filled into the second stage. Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, which fuel the cryogenic engine, will be filled on Sunday morning, he added.
Isro was slated to launch the same GSLV-D5 rocket in August last year, but it failed to take-off because of a leak in the second stage of the fuel system.
“The second stage was replaced with a new one built with a different metal. We are confident that this launch will be successful,” a senior SHAR scientist said from Sriharikota (AP), 90 km north of Chennai.
After the space agency's Mission Readiness Review team and the Launch Authorisation Board cleared the rocket take-off, it was moved on to the launch pad on December 28. Though weathermen are predicting isolated rain over the coastal region in the next 24 hours due to a trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, Isro officials remained confident that the launch will not be affected.
“The rain does not matter as the vehicle is fully rain-proof. Even if it is drenched, the launch would take place as per schedule,” the Isro official said.
The mission assumes more significance as the indigenous developed cryogenic upper stage (CUS) will be flight tested for the second time by Isro. The first flight test of the indigenous cryogenic stage in the GSLV-D3 mission failed on April 15, 2010.
The next GLSV flight, fitted with a Russian cryogenic stage, was also unsuccessful in December that same year. The official, who is inspecting launch activities with other scientists, added that several design changes were incorporated in the fresh rocket after studying past GSLV rockets and the issues faced in them.
“Design changes were made in the lower shroud/cover that protect the cryogenic engine during the atmospheric flight,” he said, adding that the aerodynamic characterisation of the entire rocket was now revised. The rocket carrying the 1,982-kg satellite is scheduled for launch at 4.18 pm on Sunday from the second launch pad at Sriharikota.