Indian Rocket Explodes After Launch

Rocket Failure A Major Setback for Indian Space Program
An Indian Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) lifting off. (Image credit: ISRO photo)

India's largest rocket lost control and

The 167-foot-tall launcher blasted off from the Satish

Trouble struck the rocket less than a minute after liftoff,

"Controllability of the vehicle was lost after about 47

The GSLV is propelled off the launch pad by a single

The liquid-fueled L40 boosters are each powered by a single

Something prevented computer steering commands from reaching

"What has caused this interruption at 47 seconds has to

Radhakrishnan said the rocket "developed large

Safety officials issued a destruct command a few seconds

Footage showed rocket debris falling into the Bay of Bengal

The rocket was carrying GSAT 5P, the largest spacecraft ever

Indian space officials postponed the mission from Monday to

Saturday's mishap was the second failed launch this year for

A GSLV flight April 15 fell short of orbit due to a fuel

While engineers fix the problem from April, ISRO approved a

In the early stages of designing the GSLV booster for

The agreement was quashed in 1992 after U.S. authorities

India responded by purchasing seven readymade cryogenic

Officials planned another test flight of the Indian third

The GSLV was supposed to deploy the 5,093-pound GSAT 5P

GSAT 5P's weight forced Russian and Indian engineers to modify

The Russian third stage was lengthened 3.6 feet to fit an

Indian officials said the GSLV needed the additional

The launch was also supposed to test a new composite payload

After reaching a final perch more than 22,000 miles above

GSAT 5P was to be stationed in geosynchronous orbit at 55

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Stephen Clark is the Editor of Spaceflight Now, a web-based publication dedicated to covering rocket launches, human spaceflight and exploration. He joined the Spaceflight Now team in 2009 and previously wrote as a senior reporter with the Daily Texan. You can follow Stephen's latest project at and on Twitter.