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India blames German connectors parts for destroying doomed rocket

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Jan 4, IRNA -- The 10 connectors that snapped prematurely destroying the Indian rocket - Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) –on December 25 were imported from Germany, an Indian Space Research Organisation official said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Space Summit session at the 98th Indian Science Congress in Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state, TK Alex, director of the ISRO Satellite Centre, said: 'The connectors are German made.'

On Christmas day, a GSLV rocket weighing 418 tons and costing Rs 175 crore (USD 38 million) and carrying an advanced communication satellite GSAT-5P veered off its flight path and disintegrated within a minute after lift off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

According to ISRO officials, commands from the rocket's on-board computers - located atop other equipments including the three stages/engines - are relayed through wires.

'As the three stages would separate after their work one after another, it is impossible to have long wires connecting the computers at the top and the stages located below.
Hence, we have connectors, sort of plugs and sockets, to relay the commands and peel off smoothly when the stages separate,' an ISRO official said.

According to ISRO, 10 connectors located below the Russian made cryogenic engine snapped leading to the rocket's failure.

Asked if it was a failure of the connectors, Alex said: 'A committee has been set up to study the reasons for the connectors to snap. Even the back-up connectors snapped.'

In July last year, an ISRO official said the failure of imported component for power systems was the reason for its satellites failing.

ISRO has lost two of its satellites - Chandrayaan in 2009 and INSAT-2D in 1997 - and INSAT-4B partially due to glitches in power supply systems.

ISRO, which is trying to get a foothold in the global communication satellite building market, suffered a setback as the W2M satellite built along with EADS Astrium for Eutelsat Communcations failed last year.

The Indian space agency imports the solar cells to make the solar panels that supply power to the satellite.

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