by Staff Writers
Bangalore, India (AFP) April 15, 2010
Indian space engineers lost contact with a rocket showcasing new indigenously built booster technology on Thursday soon after launch, in a major blow to the country's space ambitions.
The launch of the first India-made rocket powered by cryogenic motors, a complex technology mastered by just five countries, failed soon after lift-off from India's space centre at Sriharikota in southeast Andhra Pradesh state.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters that the rocket began tumbling soon after launch "indicating the controllability was lost."
Cryogenic boosters use supercooled liquid fuel and the technology has only been successfully developed by the US, Russia, France, Japan and China.
India had previously imported seven cryogenic engines from Russia, using five of them to launch heavy satellites over the last decade.
The technology is intended to launch heavier satellites into high orbits, about 36,000 kilometres (22,000 miles) from the earth, ISRO has said.
The testing of the complex cryogenic technology was going to be a major landmark for the country's space programme, and a successful mission would have catapulted India into the select band of nations -- the US, Russia, France, Japan and China -- which had mastered this "highest level" of propulsion technology.
It would make India totally self-reliant in space transportation area, Mr Satish said.
ISRO Chairman Mr K Radhakrishnan sees this week's GSLV mission a result of 18 years of research and development on cryogenic technology by Indian scientists and engineers.
ISRO took up the indigenous development of cryogenic upper stage and engine after Russia succumbed to US pressure and declined to transfer the technology sought by India.
ISRO flew five of the seven "ready-made" cryogenic stages supplied by Russia in the earlier GSLV flights.
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