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Countdown to an anti-climax

While the ISRO has taken some formidable steps in developing technology that are cutting-edge and world class, there is still miles to go before our domestically produced technology yields the same result as those manufactured by the top players in the space race field, notably, the US, Russia and now China.

While the world community had set its eyes on the much-awaited launch of the geosynchronous launch vehicle GSLV-D5, powered by indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine, which is being tested after a failed attempt over three years ago, and which is supposed to place the 1,982-kilo communication satellite GSAT-14 into orbit, the cancellation of the event at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh is a setback. Although the immediate reason for calling off the launch has been attributed to fuel leakage, there are deeper concerns regarding the ability of Indian research and technology areas to stand alone in the hugely competitive global amphitheater of development and scientific findings.

In the wake of the INS Sindhurakshak tragedy, India must weigh its defence and space-related affairs very cautiously, not only because these are extremely sensitive issues with potential to wreak havoc on life and property in the region, but also because these are capital-intensive projects, and one loose end could cause enormous losses to the public money that funds these projects at the end of the day. After the submarine debacle that has caused a dent in the naval power fleet, the GSLV-D5 setback appears to be the second blow on the hot iron of the national morale. ISRO, therefore, must look into the problem observed in the second fuel chamber and fix it as soon as possible. Moreover, in order to avoid future embarrassment, a comprehensive check up of all the assorted parts of the rocket must be done in advance.
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