ISRO forced to destroy GSLV in mid air

Chennai: For the first time in its history Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) destroyed its satellite-carrying rocket mid air.

This happened on July 10, 2006, when the second operational flight of the geo synchronous launch vehicle F 02 (GSLV F02) did a mid air somersault and veered away from its flight path. The rocket was carrying the 2,168kg-Insat 4C communication satellite.

"We had to destroy the rocket to avoid the risk of the vehicle / debris falling on the nearby populated areas," said ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair.

The GSLV F 02 mission was touted as the historic one. It was the first time an Insat satellite was launched from Indian soil using an Indian rocket. All the previous Insat satellites were launched using the European / American launch vehicles. Moreover, Insat 4C was the heaviest satellite to be carried by the GSLV F 02.

But the omens were not good. Originally the blast-off was scheduled for 4:00pm, which was postponed to 4:37 pm. It was further delayed as one of the valves did not close after the fuel was filled in the cryogenic stage. Finally, GSLV F02 blasted-off from the second launch pad at 5:38 pm.