As India Launches Heaviest Rocket, Why ISRO Scientists Are Nervous

India’s space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has a dismal record of maiden rocket launches.

NEW DELHI: As the over 25-hour countdown progressed today at the Sriharikota Space Centre for the launch of India’s heaviest rocket, a 100-odd engineers and scientists at ISRO or the Indian Space Research Organisation had reason to feel nervous. To date, most first launches of India’s rockets have ended in failure. Can they break the jinx?

This evening, India will launch a communication satellite using its most powerful home-grown rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or (GSLV) Mk III. The 640-tonne rocket weighs as much as 200 full-grown Asian elephants or five Jumbo jets. It is expected that one day, perhaps in seven years, it will carry astronauts to space.

India’s space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has a dismal record of maiden rocket launches.

In 1979, the launch of the Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 or SLV-3 ended in failure.

In 1993 the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV ended in the sea on its launch.

In 2001, the maiden launch of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle ended in failure.

The pre-monsoon heat is overbearing on the semi-arid island of Sriharikota which houses India’s only rocket port.

The GSLV, because of its repeated failures, was dubbed the naughty boy of ISRO and some even called it, disparagingly, a “Generally Sea Loving Vehicle”.

ISRO, say scientists, learnt from its mistakes.

Today the PSLV has had 39 successful launches and the GSLV, eleven launches, and last four have been successful. Scientists at ISRO say this time they are ready and all tests have been done but fingers are crossed.

ISRO hopes that if Monday’s launch is successful, it will help it attract more foreign business in the lucrative heavier segment of the satellite business.

The government has been promoting the home-grown space programme as a demonstration of low-cost technology.

Source: NDTV

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