Millennium Post

Blast off for a new space science high

Despite being an IT superpower, India has had little role to play in the communication revolution, at least its technological side. But now, with the successful blast off of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-D5 (GSLV-D5), which has the indigenously produced cryogenic engine, India takes a big leap not only into the enviable science of space-faring but also substantially escalates its self-reliance quotient by putting its own communication satellite in orbit. The lift off and the successful positioning of the GSAT-14 satellite have strengthened India’s domestic economy and defence and telecom sectors by not just bringing costs of future launches but also significantly improving instant communication in telemedicine and tele-education services. The ISRO must be congratulated on finally overcoming the myriad problems that the domestically developed cryogenic engine had fielded before the country’s premier scientific academy. Since the cryogenic engine technology provides more thrust per kilogram of propellant, it is of course a far more resource-and-cost-efficient method, substantially reducing our dependence on foreign rocket technologies and geosynchronous satellites.

 This also is a wonderful moment for the Indian scientific community, particularly the space research fraternity, which has spent over 20 years slogging to come up with an efficient indigenous technology so as to take the country to the forefront of space science. Hence, the 5 January blast off of the 49.13 metre-tall and 414.75-tonne GSLV-D5 with the 1,982-kg GSAT-14 is a milestone in the history of Indian space research, and spells fortunes for the still nascent sector of development. That the technology was managed in a shoestring budget of Rs 400 crore is another feather in the cap of the ISRO scientists. Moreover, the success will be counted sweet since it came at only the fourth attempt at launching the GSLV-D5, with fuel leaks and other problems stalling earlier ventures, much to the consternation of the ISRO officials. That the men managed to fix the issues within less than a year is truly heartwarming.
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