The historic flight

By Venkatachari Jagannathan | 08 May 2001

The countdown for first Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) actually commenced 57 hours 49 minutes (5.56am on April 16) prior to the actual blast off. Activities, including fuelling for second stage and the four strap-on motors, arming of pyros, movement of mobile service tower, filling of cyrostage and electrical checks, were done smoothly.

The authorisation for the mission was given at 16 minutes before the lift off at the completion of all mandatory checks. The automatic launch processing system took over at 12 minutes before the take off.

At 4.6 seconds before the lift off, the four liquid propulsion strap-on stages were ignited. After
confirming the normal performance of the liquid propulsion strap-on motors, the hold system was released one second before the blast off. It may be recalled the mission on March 28 was called off, as one of the motors did not acquire sufficient power.

At the count zero, the 125-tons solid propellant first stage motor was ignited and GSLV blazed into the evening sky cheered by ISRO scientists, officials, representatives of the press and the locals who were seen atop the building roofs.

The first stage of the three-stage vehicle burned for 100 seconds while the liquid propulsion strap-on stages continued thrusting upto 162 seconds from lift off, taking the vehicle to an altitude of 75 km. At the end of the burn out of the first stage, GSLV has reached a velocity of 2.63 km per second.

The second stage carrying 37.5 tons of liquid propellant, ignited 1.6 seconds before the burn out of the first stage strap-on motors and continued to burn for 147 seconds to take the vehicle to an altitude of 126 km at a speed of 5.18 km/second.

Meanwhile, when the GSLV was at an altitude of 116-km clearing the atmosphere, the heat shield got separated.

The second stage separated at 314 seconds from lift off, the cyrogenic stage was ignited. This stage carried 12.5 ton of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and burned for 693 seconds, taking the satellite and the vehicle to an altitude of 195 km at a velocity of 10.17 km/second. It was separated at 1,036 seconds from the blast off.

The ground stations at Sriharikota, Port Blair, Brunei and Biak in Indonesia monitored the entire flight. The first signals received from the satellite GSAT 1 indicate normal performance. Victory!

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