The refurbished Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) is getting ready to lift off at 4.18 p.m. on January 5, 2014, from the second launch pad at Sriharikota and it will put the communication satellite GSAT-14 into orbit. The GSLV-D5 will feature an indigenous cryogenic engine in its third, uppermost stage.
The Mission Readiness Review (MRR) team will meet on December 27 to give the formal clearance for the launch. “By then, everything would have been inspected. All checks on the vehicle would have been completed. Phase III, level I checks have already been done,” According to ISRO.
ISRO is looking forward to this launch because the GSLV-D5 uses an indigenous cryogenic engine and the vehicle suffered a major snag on August 19, 2013 on the day of the launch. About 75 minutes before the lift-off, the liquid fuel in the propellant tank in the rocket’s second stage started leaking and rained down on the vehicle, forcing ISRO to call off the launch. Fumes engulfed the first and second stages of the vehicle, causing tense moments.
The leak was blamed on the fuel tank made of aluminium alloy called Afnor 7020 which tended to develop cracks over a period of time. The GSLV-D5 was dismantled and the “restoration process” done under the guidance of K. Narayana, former Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. The GSAT-14 communication satellite, which was encapsulated in the heat shield, was preserved and tested periodically.
Since the liquid fuel leaked from the second stage tank made of aluminium alloy Afnor 7020, the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), ISRO, Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu, came up with a new second stage with its propellant tank made of aluminium alloy 2219. The four strap-on booster motors were refurbished. The rocket’s first stage, which uses solid propellants, has been replaced with a new one. The restored vehicle has new electronic components because the components in the four strap-on motors in the earlier vehicle had become wet from the fuel leak.