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Why failure of EOS-03 is a big set back for ISRO ?

Indian Space Research Organisation suffered the loss of an important earth observation satellite during launch this morning when the GSLV rocket carrying it malfunctioned about five minutes from the lift-off. The launch was supposed to place EOS-03, an earth observation satellite, into a geostationary orbit. However, five minutes after the lift-off, the GSLV rocket malfunctioned leading to the failure of the mission.

“Performance of first and second stages was normal. However, Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen due to technical anomaly. The mission couldn’t be accomplished as intended,” ISRO said in a statement, without giving any further details.

This was the 14th launch involving a GSLV rocket and fourth failure. This rocket, the Mark-II version of GSLV, was last used to successfully launch GSAT-7A, a communication satellite, in December 2018. The last failure of this rocket had happened way back in 2010.

The failure is a big setback to ISRO whose missions are already delayed because of the pandemic. The launch of EOS-03 was initially planned for March last year itself, but it had to be put off, first because of some technical glitches, and then due to the pandemic.

EOS-03, part of the new generation of earth-observation satellites, was meant to provide almost real-time images of large parts of the country that could be used for monitoring of natural disaster like floods and cyclones, water bodies, crops, vegetation and forest cover.

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