Divers recover failed GSLV engines

06 Nov 2006

(Indian Express via NewsEdge) After an unprecedented rescue campaign that lasted 100 days and entailed 550 diving expeditions as deep as 20 meters off the coast of Sriharikota, the Ministry of Earth Sciences successfully recovered the four strap-on engines of the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-F02) that had failed after lift-off in July.

The GSLV, launched on July 10 with the Insat-4 C satellite on board, had reached an altitude of 11km in about a minute before disintegrating and crashing into the sea.

With the recovery of the engines, the Indian Space Research Organization will now be in a position to identify the cause of the failure.

"This is only the second time in the world that it's been possible to recover the parts of a failed spacecraft. It was a challenge to locate the strap-on engines on the seabed and then recover them. While two engines were located and recovered in July, the final one, which was the failed engine, was recovered in late October," said Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

The only other time such a recovery operation was undertaken was when the Ariane 5 spacecraft had failed in its test flight on June 4, 1996. The spacecraft had veered off its flight path, broken up and exploded, within 40 seconds of launch.

© 2006 The Indian Express Online Media Ltd

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