Post GSLV Failure comments

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on December 29, 2010 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I have refrained from commenting too much about the GSLV failure after the initial reaction, which was also emotional on my part. This is mainly because there has been a lot of speculation already in various newspapers. This has been caused by the sudden springing up of subject experts by TV and newspapers when they found that they did not get through to any ISRO official on time. They did this only to break the story. I have presented these suggestions to aerospace friends and they say it is too premature to tell the cause of failure.

These are the news stories and videos of the GSLV failure that I read and collected from the web:

    1. This report by Stephen Clark for Spaceflight Now is the sanest report to read.
    2. Hindustan Times has posted this IANS report first on speculation that the heavier payload mass caused the failure. There are mirrors of this report in Economic Times and DNA.
    3. This report by Nirad Mudur of DNA speculates whether this was an ISRO goof up i.e. oversight error.
    4. This report by Charu Sudan Kasthuri of the Hindustan Times on ISRO’s clarification that they will use the GSLV Mk-II vehicle for Chandrayaan-II.
    5. This report by T S Subramanium of The Hindu suggests that the failure of connectors is a very trivial problem.
    6. Pathri Rajashekhar of The Asian Age reports suggest that it is the workers fault that the accident occured.
    7. Another report by T S Subramanium of The Hindu. I give kudos to him to have the presence of mind to question the VSSC Director. VSSC is the centre which builds India’s launch vehicles.

In short, these so called “space experts” have criticised everything that was new on this spacecraft. I think the best way for ISRO to correct its mistake is to follow the engineering creed and not bow down to immediate needs of media houses, political party or a short-memoried public. I hope ISRO officials can thrash down the problems.

I would also apologise for my own speculation in the previous post. But, I still think ISRO should nonetheless put the launch stack through re-qualification and test them again. It does not hurt.

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