ISRO Successfully Launches GSLV With Cryogenic Upper Stage

A GSLV-II rocket lifts off with the GSAT-14 spacecraft and a domestically-produced cryogenic upper stage. (Credit: ISRO)
A GSLV-II rocket lifts off with the GSAT-14 spacecraft and a domestically-produced cryogenic upper stage. (Credit: ISRO)

The Indian space agency ISRO is celebrating today after a GSLV-II rocket launch that featured the first successful demonstration of the nation’s new cryogenic upper stage.

After the rocket lifted off from Isro’s spaceport at Sriharikota and successfully deployed the GSAT-14 communications satellite 17 minutes later, officials were able to declare success in what has been a nearly 20-year effort to develop the advanced propulsion technology.

Following the successful flight,  sounded like a man released from a prison of high expectations and dismal results.

“With this successful launch, we have repaid all our debt to the country,” said ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan, sounding like a man finally released from prison. “Team Isro has done it. Indian engine and stage have performed as predicted and as expected for this mission. The injection was precious as planned. It is a major achievement for GSLV programme. Today was an important day for science technology and space technology in India. It is 20 years of effort, especially the last 3.5 years, today’s successful launch shows the maturity of us. I thank and salute everyone”.

It was the first GSLV launch since dual failures more than three years ago.  On April 15, 2010, a launch attempt failed after the first cryogenic upper stage failed to fire. Eight months later on Christmas Day, another rocket equipped with a Russian cyrogenic stage was destroyed by the range safety officer after it veered off course early in the flight.

The new stage will allow ISRO to send larger payloads into space, lessening the nation’s dependence on foreign launch vehicles for certain spacecraft. The space agency also has nearly exhausted its supply of seven cryogenic upper stages it purchased from Russia.

The successful launch raises the record of the GSLV family of rockets to 3-4-1. Radhakrishnan said another launch of the rocket is planned for the end of the year. He added that India will soon begin flight testing of the advanced GSLV-III, which is based on different technology.

  • windbourne

    Congrats India.
    Now lets see you scale that engine up.
    It will make a big deal for you.

  • Douglas Messier

    No. It’s not that at all.

    Congrats India.

    Now let’s see you launch that same rocket over and over again until it becomes as reliable as any other launch vehicle in the world. It’s only 3-4-1 thus far over 12 years.

    A single launch success doesn’t suddenly make the GSLV and the cryogenic stage reliable. That takes dozens of launches.

    Great mission. Terrific success. Don’t want to take anything away from you on that.

    But, a lot of the rhetoric I’m seeing in the Indian media is excessive. It betrays a lack of understanding of what it takes to make a launch vehicle reliable.

  • windbourne

    You are referring to the launch vehicle itself. I am thinking only of their new engine. THAT is what is really new for them.

    As to the vehicle’s reliability, it will take India another 10-20 years before they really have an understanding of QA. Even in software, they are disasters WRT security and reliability.
    For example, few ppl know that the entire work on Target’s Computer system happened in India.
    The Security is providing by India.
    In another 3-6 months, a new virus will be on all of the cash registers again because the Indians think that they go rid of the virus, while ignoring the fact that without a whole new install on ALL OF THE REGISTERS, there was no way to stop the backdoors that were planted in individual registers.

    The same is true on India’s launch systems. I would not want to trust a sat on their stuff. The fact is, that their LVs have a LONG ways to go before they are reliable.

    BUT, the creation of a family of engines will go a long ways towards helping out India, while they figure out QA via more launch losses.

  • windbourne

    BTW, I see many ppl that scream that Elon Musk got all sorts of subsidies and advantages for SpaceX and Tesla. They point to the guaranteed loan that we gave Tesla and ignore the fact that he paid off. Likewise, they scream that he got 300 million for building F9 (true, but all that did was speed things up). And then point to his winning the right to service the ISS (same ppl scream that private industry should be doing this and then get upset when SpaceX is the lowest bidder).

    No, the best and realest subsidy that SpaceX got was right after F1-1. NASA came in and worked over the QA in SpaceX. Thankfully, SpaceX accepted it. BUT, QA is a hard learned item.
    I worked on MGS. She is now orbiting mars as a lifeless sat because good testing was NOT observed.
    QA says that you have repeat-ability esp. on the test side.
    Even to this day, Russia does not understand QA. They make up for it by using a known old system, and even there, they still have issues. Witness the N1 and even the current bouts of troubles. All are true issues of QA (merging companies together will NOT solve their issues).

    ESA and NASA have the best QA on their systems, and it still screws up occasionally.
    But nations like India, Brazil, china, etc will have to learn their QA va hard knocks, just like NASA and our space program did.
    That is why I say that India’s space program will be a long time coming. However, they can now scale up engines and create a family of these.

  • An Indian

    it’s not domestically produced but indigenously made..

    Regret your stupid English

  • Douglas Messier

    My English?

    Your punctuation leaves much to be desired.

  • sai kiran sharma

    We still need to master this new engine which was indigenously built. Its sad, that Indian media has more time to understand how the bowel movement of a certain Indian actress works. But has little understanding what a tech like Cryo means. Also, many of our scientists were jailed and tortured under mysterious circumstances. That tells a lot about active Espionage.

  • windbourne

    ??? What are you talking about WRT your scientists?

  • sai kiran sharma

    Search for ISRO spy case. It was fake spy case, created to delay this very project. Media just kept criticizing the poor scientist.

  • sai kiran sharma

    As far as QA of Indian Software co’s is concerned, I would rate them below 5 on 10. Not because they aint professional enough. But because they have not kept a real cap on the quality of candidates walking in for employment. And then what would you expect the output would be like? 🙁

    As far as ISRO is concerned, you might want to search PSLV and check its track record.It is the most successful launch vehicle in ISRO, till date, with 23 successful launches out of 25. Thats the kind of perfection which has to be achieved by GSLV.

  • windbourne

    wow. Interesting read.
    Why did India eat one of their own on this?
    Was this inside politics or caused by outside interference?

    I found the wiki article interesting. Appears to want to blame USA, without any real proof or any of the side issues.
    Still, interesting.

  • windbourne

    23 out of 25 is not too bad. Still, QA is lacking in India overall. Sad.
    My in-laws are from Chennai, so I tune into India a bit more than I would otherwise.
    That, and I think that India is going to need more of the west in light of China’s moves, esp on your rivers.

    But, the current situation is not that hot.

  • sai kiran sharma

    Actually, approximately at same time Russia backed out from the deal. For more details on this, you need to look up the interview on youtube ” Nambi Narayanan victim of sreekumar Madhukishwar” The guy under question reveals that India was close to make the Cryo engine for 1/3rd the price of the existing trends back then. No body know who did it. Its all speculation. But, there is a book ” Russia in space, final/failed frontier” by Harvey, where he he mentioned about the sabotage of ISRO’s cryo project by CIA. However, spy agencies keep doing it. But the poor scientists pay the price. Be it NASA, ISRO or Russian space agency. Every poor gentleman paid the price. I was really sad after I saw the gentleman lashing out at the culprit on national TV. The Culprit has political alignments. One more theory which is doing rounds is that, the scientist is a Brahmin and the IB deputy who framed false cases against the scientist is from so called low-caste. But, whatever it may be, the Gentleman was tortured for 50 days, and his honor was stripped! Sad!

  • jaycdp

    Why American media scared to report this news even after 10 days. Who is the anti India monster. Who is that Hitler hiding in usa.