ISRO forms panel to study GSLV rocket glitch and recommend action

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has constituted a multidisciplinary expert committee to study the technical glitch in the GSLV-MK III rocket that was to carry India’s moon mission spacecraft Chandrayaan-2, said an official.

“A committee having experts from multi-disciplines has been constituted, which will soon submit its report,” the official said.

According to the official the rocket is fully fuelled up; and it has to be brought to normal condition first, and that there are set procedures for that to be done.

The ISRO officials heaved a sigh of relief that the technical glitch was detected ahead of the rocket’s launch by saving the Rs 978 crore worth rocket and the spacecraft Chandrayaan-2.

To date, India has flown 16 GSLV rockets (MK I, II and III) and the total number of successful and failed missions are 12 and four respectively.

Last minute mission postponement has taken place in the past involving GSLV rockets.

For example, the GSLV-D5 that successfully launched GSAT-14 in January 2014 gave tension to ISRO officials.

Originally it was scheduled for launch on August 19, 2013. Just hours before the blast off, fuel started leaking from its second stage or engine.

An ISRO official then had said that the second stage was replaced with a new one built with a different metal. He then added that some critical components in the four strap-on motors of the first stage were also replaced as a matter of precaution.

Similarly, the 2007 flight of GSLV rocket gave anxious moments to ISRO officials. Fifteen seconds before the lift-off, the rocket’s computers put GSLV on hold detecting anomalies in the cryogenic fuel stage.

The launch was postponed by two hours to set right the problem even as ISRO officials were considering rescheduling the launch by another two days.

However, the detection of one of the vent valves in the cryogenic engine that had not shut properly led to its immediate rectification.

That apart, ISRO scientists were on tenterhooks till the last moment as for a few seconds during the final cryogenic stage, signals from the rocket failed to reach the ground stations.