India Roars to Orbit With GSLV-D6


Shirking off rainy weather, India’s GSLV-D6 rocket lifted off today at 4:52 PM IST from the Sriharikota Space Center, carrying the 2,117 kg GSAT 6 communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit on its way to a final position at 83 East. The flight, the 9th of the series overall, appears to have been flawless, marking India’s second successful mission using the domestically designed and built Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).  As of today, the GLSV’s record draws to a tie, with four successful launches, four outright failures and one partial success/failure depending on your perspective.

Past failures may quickly fading into the rear view mirror however. Although inevitably contrasted in the national press with poverty which is never more than a few footsteps away, India’s space program enjoys popular support (Prime Minister Modi was among the first to offer congratulations for GLSV-D6, a mere seven minutes into the launch) and many are justifiably reveling in the success of MOM orbiter sending back spectacular images from Mars.

While the current GSLV is a veritable franken-rocket, with four highly toxic hypergolic strap-on boosters, a solid core first stage, a hypergolic second stage and a cryogenic third stage, it is the success of the latter which points the way to what could be a very promising future for Indian aerospace.



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