Thursday, December 30, 2010

Isro: snapped connectors failed GSLV

The snapping of connectors that take a signal to the first stage of the rocket is believed to have led to the failure of the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle ( GSLV) on December 25. Isro spokesperson S Satish told TOI that the crash did not have anything to do with the cryogenic stage or engine of the rocket but was related to the snapping of connectors within the first stage. “Connectors between two critical systems within the first stage snapped. Four connectors that take a signal to the first stage for controlling the rocket could have snapped. We are trying to understand why the connectors snapped, which caused loss of control and eventual failure of the mission,” Satish said.
In common parlance, the connectors between the computer systems and the control systems within the first stage of the rocket snapped and the signals that were supposed to reach from the computer systems to the control systems that are broadly linked to the strap-ons within the first stage that eventually ignite the engine did not reach them. This happened because the link between the two snapped.
An expert committee is being set up within the next couple of days to look into the causes of the failure. “Teams are looking at the data to find out the reason for what happened,” Satish said.
Top Isro officials at Sriharikota said the command to control the space rocket (GSLV-f06), carrying Gsat-5p, from the equipment bay, the electronic brain of the launch vehicle, did not reach the actuators in the first stage. They reasoned that a connector chord, which takes the signal down, had snapped.
The GSLV-f06 powered by Russian cryogenic stage, with Gsat-5p communication satellite on board, failed in its mission on Christmas day following a technical problem soon after the liftoff from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.
The Gsat-5p meant to give a boost to communication services, including TV, telephone and telemedicine, was originally scheduled for launch on December 20 but was postponed a day earlier after a leak was noticed in the cryogenic stage during pre-countdown checks.
This is the second consecutive setback for India’s space programme this year after the GSLV-D3 veered off its flight path and plunged into the Bay of Bengal along with Gsat-4 on April 15.
The Failure Analysis Committee to be formed is expected to be similar to the committee set up after the failure of GSLV-D3, primarily for the flight testing of indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage (CUS), on April 15 this year.

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