July 29, 2013
NEW DELHI — The launch of India’s GSAT-14 satellite aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) fitted with an indigenous cryogenic engine will take place on Aug. 19, a top scientist says.
“Currently, the launcher is being assembled, following which the GSLV-D5 will be lofted with GSAT-14 satellite on board, from the spaceport in Sriharikota,” says Deviprasad Karnik, scientist and spokesman at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
GSAT-14 features six extended C-band and 6 Ku-band transponders. “The spacecraft has already been moved to Sriharikota. We have completed electrical checks on the rocket,” Karnik says.
The GSLV is a three-stage vehicle and stands 49 meters (160 ft.) tall, with a 414-ton liftoff weight. It has a maximum diameter of 3.4 meters at the payload fairing.
GSLV’s first flight took place on April 18, 2001, with the launch of the 1,540-kg (3,400-lb.) GSAT-1. It was followed by six more launches.
Besides the 2006 launch failure, two previous GSLV liftoffs — GSLV-F06 carrying satellite GSAT-5P on Dec. 25, 2010, and GSLV-D3 carrying satellite GSAT-4 on April 15, 2010 — were unsuccessful.
ISRO has carried out wide-ranging studies to examine the reasons behind the mission’s failure and lessons learned from those studies have been incorporated into the current GSLV. “Several ground tests have also been done on the engine [and] subsystems,” Karnik says.
ISRO plans to launch GSLV at least twice before placing the country’s second robotic lunar mission — Chandrayaan 2 — on the launcher for a flight to the Moon in 2014.