Satellites

GSLV relaunch successful

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The relaunch of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle D1(GSLVD1) went off successfully today from the SHAR Centre, Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The GSLV was carried the G-Sat 1 communications satellite into orbit.

The countdown began at Sriharikota yesterday. The GSLV, using a cryogenic engine, blasted off at 3:43 pm with all systems go.

As the rocket lifted majestically into the clear blue skies, the scientists, engineers and technicians, led by Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K Kasturirangan, who had been working on the project for several months, clapped for joy and shook hands with one another.

Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, in a televised address to the nation on national broadcaster Doordarshan, congratulated the team behind the effort and said it was an endorsement of India's efforts at self reliance in its space programme.

As a precautionary measure this time round additional flame protection for the insulation pads was provided.

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

The heaviest-ever spacecraft developed indigenously is powered by a Russian cryogenic engine in the third and final stage. The GSLV will be inducted into the country's regular satellite launch system after two more developmental flights.

The ambitious project launches India into the elite club of five space-faring nations - US, Russia, Japan, China and the European Union - that have already crossed the geostationary milestone.

The GSLV series are meant to carry payloads of 2000 kg and above into geosynchronous orbits. The success of the GSLV mission opens up immense commercial possibilities for the country in the lucrative multi-billion global satellite launch business.

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