GSLV launch rescheduled for 18 April, eight-day window to be kept open

All eyes will be on Sriharikota in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on 18 April. The reason: that's the day the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will once again be taking a shot at becoming a player in the global satellite launch sweepstakes. A previous attempt in March was aborted moments before takeoff. 

The GSLV afire last month: So near, yet so far

Isro's indigeneously developed three-stage, 49-metre high Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), will take its place on the launchpad with its payload of a 1.54 tonne experimental space craft GSAT-1. And should the weather gods frown on that day, Isro will have till 25 April to try again.

The launch will be between 3:47 PM and 7:41 PM on 18 April while the countdown will begin on 16 April 57 hours before the flight, according to Isro officials.

The inaugural flight of the GSLV on 28 March had to be aborted just before take-off apparently because one of the four strap-on booster rockets failed to achieve the required level of thrust, during takeoff. Isro explained that the booster rocket failed due to a "defective plumbing in the oxidiser flow of the engine. " It added that the fire which spread over one of the strap-on boosters was due to the "burning of foam insulation pads" and was incidental. 

"It did not cause any damage to the vehicle. It has been decided to provide additional flame protection for these insulation pads ... All other systems of the vehicle are found to be healthy," Isro added. 

Isro has been developing the GSLV for the past 10 years and has poured in some Rs 14 billion as investment.

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