India joined ‘Cryo Club’ with successful launch of GSLV-D5; 6th spacefarer to develop a cryogenic engine

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its heavy-duty rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-D5 (GSLV-D5) from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh and placed communication satellite GSAT-14 into orbit. 

  • GSAT-14 is India’s 23rd geostationary satellites built by ISRO. It has a life span of 12 years. The 1,982 kg satellite carries six extended C-band and Ku-band transponders (receivers and transmitters of signals), and two Ka-band becons. The satellite will be used for telemedicine and tele-education services.
  • The mission cost India Rs. 365 crore – Rs. 220 crore for the rocket and Rs. 145 crore for the satellite. 
About ISRO’s indigenous cryogenic engine GSLV-D5 rocket
  • Powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine, injected into orbit a telecommunication satellite, GSAT-14.
  • It is the first successful flight of the indigenous cryogenic engine.
  • The GSLV is a three-stage engine rocket. The first stage is fired with solid fuel, the second with liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine.
  • A cryogenic engine is more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant burnt. Cryogenic fuels are extremely clean as they give out only water while burning.
  • A cryogenic engine uses liquid oxygen at -253oC and liquid hydrogen at -183 oC   and can develop the thrust needed in the final state of the rocket to put satellites, weighing two tonnes or more, into a geosynchronous orbit.
  • It is essential to master this technology for any space power as launching heavier satellites requires cryogenic engines even in the lower stages of the rocket.
  • After this launch, India joined the “Cryo Club” and became the sixth spacefarer after US, Russia, the European Space Agency, China and Japan to develop a cryogenic engine — a necessity for interplanetary probes and manned space missions.

Note: GSAT is a telecommunication satellite which will be used for tele-education, tele- medicine, village resource centre, disaster management and part of public broadcasting services.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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