GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)'s GSLV rocket on 12 August 2021 failed to inject into orbit the country's latest earth observation satellite EOS-03. The satellite, meant for quick monitoring of natural disasters such as cyclones, cloudbursts and thunderstorms, was launched on a geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

What went wrong?

  1. India's latest earth observation satellite EOS-03 could not be injected into orbit due to a techinal failure to ignite the cryogenic stage of the launch vehicle, prompting ISRO to declare the mission could not be achieved as intended.
  2. However, the first and second stages of the rocket had performed normally, the Indian Space Research Organisation said.
  3. The four-stage rocket was the first to carry a four-metre dia 'Ogive Payload Fairing' at the top of the vehicle to accommodate larger payloads.
  4. The rocket was supposed to place the EOS, an agile state-of-the-art satellite, into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, 19 minutes after lift-off.
  5. The Cryogenic Upper Stage Project formally commenced in ISRO in 1994, with the first flight attempt in April 2010.

What is the cryogenic stage?

  1. A cryogenic stage is the last stage of space launch vehicles, which makes use of cryogenics.
  2. The word refers to technology of sub-zero temperature where production and behaviour of materials is studied at below -150 degree Centigrade.
  3. A cryogenic rocket stage is more efficient and provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant it burns compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellant rocket stages.
  4. However, the cryogenic stage is technically a very complex system compared to solid or earth-storable liquid propellant stages due to its use of propellants at extremely low temperatures and the associated thermal and structural problems.