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Inaugural GSLV launch scrubbed
Posted: Wed, Mar 28, 2001, 9:54 AM ET (1454 GMT)
GSLV rocket The first launch of a large new Indian rocket has been postponed indefinitely after a fire broke out seconds before liftoff Wednesday. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was scheduled to lift off from the launch site at Sriharikota, India at 5:15 am EST (1015 GMT) and place an experimental communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit. However, when the booster's first stage engines were ignited a few seconds before liftoff, flames could be seen coming out of the side of the rocket, forcing controllers to shut down the engines and scrub the launch. A preliminary investigation pinpointed the failure to one of four strap-on boosters, the BBC reported. K. Kasturirangan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), called the failure "all part and parcel of this kind of game" and said that the mission was cancelled for the foreseeable future. The GSLV is India's most powerful launch vehicle and the first capable of placing payloads in geosynchronous orbit; India has previously relied on foreign rockets to place communications, weather, and other spacecraft in such orbits.
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