ISRO aborts GSLV-D5 launch after fuel leak

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isroSRIHARIKOTA, August 19; Following the detection of a fuel leakage barely an hour from lift-off, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) aborted its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), the GSLV-D5 mission that was to place in orbit the advanced communication satellite GSAT-14, from the Sriharikota spaceport.

The leakage was reportedly noticed during the loading of liquid propellants for the second stage. The 49-metre tall GSLV-D5 adopts a three-stage fuel cycle—the core solid stage, four liquid propellant strap-ons and second stage and a cryogenic upper stage.

This is the third straight time that the ISRO is being caught up in a cryogenic nemesis with its previous two GSLV missions with a home-wired cryogenic upper stage — in April and December 2010 — ending in failure.

“The countdown was progressing well, but about two before lift-off, we observed a leak in the fuel systems. Because of this, we are calling off the launch,” ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan later told a press conference.

A new date, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, would be finalised only after the ISRO team undertook a detailed assessment to identify the cause of the leak and the actions that need to be taken.

The immediate task of the ISRO team was to drain out the liquid propellants that was loaded for the second stage and the four liquid L40 strap-ons of the rocket. The GSLV-D5 has been hauled back to Vehicle Assembly Building.

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