Earth observation satellite

India’s launch attempt of Earth Observation Satellite fails

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Key Highlights:

  • An Indian rocket carrying a new Earth observation satellite for ISRO experienced a catastrophic failure.
  • The GSLV launch failure ends ISRO’s record of 14 successful launches.
  • All five missions are expected to be put on hold as ISRO examines the cause of the GSLV launch mishap.

Launch Mishap

India’s initial launch in 2021 was a failure. Early Thursday (Aug. 12), an Indian rocket carrying a new Earth-observation satellite for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) experienced a catastrophic failure shortly after launch from the country’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island in eastern India. At 5:43 a.m. local time in India (8:13 p.m. EDT Aug 11/0013 GMT), the rocket took flight.

The launch failure, India’s first since 2017, came after the mission’s rocket, the 12-story-tall Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, had ignited its cryogenic third stage.

The launch “could not be fully accomplished” due to a “technical issue discovered in the cryogenic stage,” said ISRO head K. Sivan in a brief televised statement following the mission’s failure.

A streak of 14 successful launches comes to an end

The EOS-03 Earth observation satellite, meant to be a “state-of-the-art” instrument for ISRO to investigate our planet, was lost with the GSLV rocket. According to an ISRO mission description, the satellite was anticipated to endure at least ten years, providing near real-time photographs of India, tracking natural catastrophes and other short-term occurrences, and collecting data to aid agriculture and forestry by monitoring crop health.

According to the launch tracking website Spaceflight Now, the GSLV launch failure ends ISRO’s record of 14 successful launches. It started when a separate Indian rocket, a smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying a satellite for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, failed in 2017. According to SpaceNews, the 2017 failure was India’s PSLV’s first in 20 years.

Five launches put on hold

The previous year was a difficult one for India’s space program. Following the launch of EOS-01 in January 2020, the country’s launches were halted due to the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Late that year, they continued with two missions, one in November and one in December. The EOS-01 Earth observation satellite was successfully launched into orbit in November.

According to the Indian Express news site, the delays caused by the pandemic forced ISRO to accelerate the launch of EOS-03 ahead of the EOS-02 mission, which was originally scheduled to fly in March 2021. According to the article, the mission had been postponed for no sooner than September, and ISRO had intended to conduct at least four additional flights by the end of 2021.

All five missions are expected to be put on hold as ISRO examines the cause of the GSLV launch mishap.

Also Read : ISRO Chandranyaan-2 launched today

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