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The Hindu
Vehicle blows up just after lift-off

The Indian space program was rocked by a setback on Christmas Day.  An unmanned Indian rocket lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on Saturday and blew up live on television after its launch because of a malfunction. 

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was carrying an advanced GSAT-5P communication satellite into orbit when it veered off its intended path and exploded moments after take-off.  The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is citing electronic failure as the cause.

"The performance of the (rocket) was normal up to about 50 seconds. Soon after that the vehicle developed large altitude error leading to breaking up of the vehicle," ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said.

"Data indicates commands from onboard computers ceased to reach circuits of the first stage (engines) but what caused the interruption needs to be studied and we hope to get an assessment of what triggered this."

According to some reports, the rocket was deliberately blown up by mission control following the malfunction.

Originally scheduled for December 20, engineers postponed the launch after they found a leak in one of the Russian-made cryogenic engines of the GSLV.

The failed launch is the second this year for the space agency.  The first rocket plunged into the Bay of Bengal during a developmental flight in April.

India has scheduled its first manned space flight for the year 2016.





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