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ISRO rocket crashed after its connectors snapped.

IT WAS the snapping of connectors meant to pass on computer commands that led to the crash of the satellite launcher GSLVF06, an expert panel has found.

The preliminary failure analysis team chaired by former Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair has concluded that the primary cause of the Christmas Day failure of the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle ( GSLV) was the " untimely and inadvertent" snapping of a set of 10 connectors at the bottom portion of the Russian- made Cryogenic Upper Stage.

Some of these connectors carry command signals from the onboard computer in the equipment bay situated near the top of the vehicle to the control electronics of the four strap- on motors of the first stage, the team explained.

These connectors were intended to be separated only on a command 292 seconds after lift- off. " The premature snapping of these connectors led to the stoppage of the continuous flow of control commands to the first stage control electronics.

This consequently led to the loss of control and break- up of the vehicle," an ISRO spokesperson said.

Scientists will now analyse the exact cause of the snapping of the set of connectors.

A failure analysis committee, also led by Nair, will now study the flight data in detail. " We now have to establish why it happened -- all stages and all subsystems will be tested. We will do it in two to three weeks," Nair said. His committee will also study data from the previous six GSLV flights.

In view of the two GSLV crashes last year, the space agency is now reviewing the entire GSLV programme as well as the launch options for INSAT/ GSAT series and the second moon mission.

ISRO chairman Dr K. Radhakrishnan has constituted a programme review and strategy committee to look into these long- term aspects.

The seven- member panel, led by Planning Commission member and former ISRO chief Dr K. Kasturirangan, will also look at the indigenous cryogenic stage -- that led to a GSLV crash in April -- and shortage of communication transponders.

" It is left to the review committee to decide on the future of the GSLV programme and to recommend ways to provide best support for it," ISRO's public relations director S. Satish said.

The reports of the failure analysis committee and the programme review panel will be presented to experts such as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Prof. MGK Menon, Prof.

Yash Pal, Prof. U. R. Rao, Dr R. Chidambaram, Prof. Roddam Narasimha, Kasturirangan and Nair.

Besides, all future space programmes -- including the yet- tobe- cleared human mission -- are coming under the scanner in a separate internal process. This will be aided by a panel chaired by former Space Commission member S. C. Gupta, officials said. The entire review process, including internal exercises, would be over by February.

ANALYSING THE GSLV GLITCH

1 A preliminary failure analysis team has concluded that the main reason behind the GSLV- F06 failure was the " untimely and inadvertent" snapping of a set of 10 connectors in the Russian- made Cryogenic Upper Stage

2 Some of these connectors carry command signals from an onboard computer in the equipment bay ( situated near the top of the launch vehicle) to the control electronics of the four strap- on motors of the first stage

3 These connectors were intended to be parted only on a specific ' separation command', which was to come 292 seconds after liftoff. But these connectors snapped within 47 seconds after the GSLV took off from the space centre

4 The premature snapping of these connectors led to the stoppage of the continuous flow of control commands to the first stage control electronics. This consequently led to the loss of control and break- up of the vehicle

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 2, 2011
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