ISRO Targets December for GSLV-D5 Launch

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BANGALORE, India — The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is targeting December for its next attempt to launch a rocket whose planned Aug. 19 flight was postponed two hours before liftoff due to a fuel leak.

In an Aug. 30 statement, ISRO said some 750 kilograms of fuel had leaked from the second stage of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) by the time the countdown was called off. 

ISRO spokesman B.R. Guruprasad said it took six days of around-the-clock cleanup operations at the pad before the rocket could be safely transported back to its vehicle assembly building at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. The vehicle has since been destacked.

While a detailed investigation of the leak is underway, a new liquid-fueled second stage is being assembled and the vehicle’s four strap-on engines are being replaced. “The solid first stage and core base shroud are being inspected and the elements that are affected will be replaced,” ISRO said.  

The upcoming GSLV-D5 mission, whose payload is the GSAT 14 telecommunications satellite, will be the GSLV’s first since back-to-back failures in 2010. The vehicle features a modified version of India’s indigenously produced cryogenic upper stage, which failed in its inaugural mission in 2010.