ISRO to launch GSLV-D5 satellite today

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Jan.5 (ANI): Countdown for the launch of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5), carrying communication satellite GSAT-14, is progressing smoothly at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

It will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 4:18 p.m. today.

After Indian Space Research Organisation's successful launch of its first rocket to Mars, all eyes are now glued on whether the GSLV-D5, powered by its own crucial cryogenic engine, would be successful or not.

Earlier, ISRO planned to launch the rocket in August 2013, but had to abort it just hours before the deadline due to fuel leakage from its second engine.

Reportedly, this would be the first mission of the GSLV after two such rocket launches failed in 2010.

The success of the rocket is crucial for India, as it would be the first step towards building rockets.

India launched its first rocket to Mars on November 5, 2013 aiming to put a satellite in orbit around the red planet at a lower cost than previous missions and potentially positioning the emerging Asian nation as a budget player in the global space race.

The Mars Orbiter Mission blasted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, with the satellite scheduled to start orbiting Mars by September 2014.

The Mars Orbiter Mission plans to search for methane in the Martian atmosphere, the chemical strongly tied to life on Earth. Recent measurements made by NASA's rover, Curiosity, show only trace amounts of it on Mars.

India's mission will also study Martian surface features and mineral composition.

The relative prowess in space contrasts with poor results in developing fighter jets by India's state-run companies.

India's space programme began 50 years ago and developed rapidly after western powers imposed sanctions in response to a nuclear weapons test in 1974, spurring scientists to build advanced rocket technology. Five years ago, its Chandrayaan probe landed on the moon and found evidence of water. (ANI)