Snapping of 10 connectors led to GSLV failure: ISRO sources

As many as ten connectors between the second and cryogenic third stage had snapped, resulting in non-receipt of commands from onboard computers to strap-on motors in the first stage leading to disintegration of the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F06) mission which was destroyed within a minute of launch on on Christmas Day.

ISRO sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said analysis of the data revealed the GSLV-F06, which was meant to put India's heaviest and most advanced communication satellite GSAT-5P in orbit, went out of control due to snapping of ten connectors.

"The take-off was smooth and the flight was normal till 47 seconds. But trouble arose in the next three seconds, when 10 connectors located between the second and third stage (cryogenic stage) got separated, leading to the vehicle losing controllability," the sources said.

The heat shield capsule of the cryo-engine, where the satellite is located, broke first followed by the strap-on motors in the first stage.

As the vehicle started disintegrating, the mission was destroyed by the Range Safety Officer by pressing the "destruct" button, to prevent the debris from falling in human habitations.

The sources said they believed that the area near the connectors, which were like mini-plugs and sockets to take the command from on- board computers at the top portion of the vehicle right down to the strap-on in the first stage, would have received sudden heavy loads between the second and third stage, leading to their snapping.

The sources stoutly denied that increase in the weight of the satellite by nearly 100 kg had led to the disaster.

Analysis of the data showed that snapping of connectors had led to the disintegration of the vehicle and it had nothing to do with the increase in the weight of the satellite, which was only marginal, the sources said.


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