Test Flight of India's Satellite Launcher Aborted

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Mar 28, 2001 - 09:02 AM

Test Flight of India's Satellite Launcher Aborted The Associated Press

NEW DELHI, India (AP) - The first test flight of a satellite launcher meant to catapult India into the club of space powers was aborted Wednesday when one of its engines appeared to catch fire while on the launch pad. Flames could be seen enveloping one of the rocket's four Russian-made engines - called strap-on engines.

"We admit it is a setback," said K. Kasturi Rangan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization. The setback occurred at the space port at Sriharikota on India's southeastern coast, 1,050 miles south of New Delhi.

"From preliminary assessment, we found that one of the strap-on engines did not develop the required thrust, so the computer automatically ordered a shutdown," Rangan said.

It will take time for scientists to determine what went wrong and no date has been set for a new launch, he said.

The satellite launcher was designed to carry commercial payloads into space to orbit at the same speed as the earth rotates. That allows satellites to remain above the same point of land and transmit television and other communication signals.

India hopes to enter the multibillion dollar commercial satellite business.

The satellite launcher, the product of 10 years of effort by Indian scientists, can carry about 400 tons.

AP-ES-03-28-01 0902EST


-- Carl Jenkins (somewherepress@aol.com), March 28, 2001

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