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SLV-3 lessons help ISRO take a call on launch



SLV-3 lessons help ISRO take a call on launch

As you may already know the launch of the Chandrayaan-2 was called off because of a technical snag. It is reported that a leak in the GSLV-MK III’s cryogenic engine was found which was big enough to cancel the launch of India’s most ambitious moon mission. The Indian Space Research Organisation have learned their lessons from a gas leak that led to the SLV-3 launch failure, 40 years ago.

Indian Space Research Organisation suspected multiple leaks because of which they chose to play safe early Monday morning. But the scientists were well aware of a similar gas leak that hit the Satellite Launch Vehicle-3, India’s first experimental satellite launch vehicle in 1979.

An alarm was raised by the elementary computer back then. But ISRO officials had decided to override the alert and then they had to pay the price. The gas leak got worse by a faulty valve which caused the vehicle to crash into the Bay of Bengal, 317 seconds after launch on 10 August 1979.

But playing out in the minds of ISRO officials was also a propellant leak, barely four hours before the Chandrayaan-1 launch on October 22, 2008. A space industry source recalled how the leak was plugged in two hours and the launch undertaken without delay.

By the year 2008, computers had come of age. It could be used to track every perimeter in minute detail. Unlike in 1979, ISRO has only black and white cameras. The leak in Chandrayaan-1 was quickly detected by the yellow fumes, the source recollected. However, the Chandrayaan-2 leak was minimal by ISRO wanted to maintain extreme precaution and thus, the mission was called off.

Chandrayaan-2 is dubbed as ‘Baahubali’ for its massive power and size. This was too precious for the ISRO officials to take chances. And with barely 56 minutes and 24 seconds before blast-off, ISRO simply had no choice left but to cancel the mission.

The leak was first spotted when helium-filling into the cryogenic engine was completed. Scientists associated with the projected have revealed that they found something amiss when the pressure began to drop.



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