Red Letter day for the GSLV

January 5, 2014 is a really important day in Indian Space History. On this day, the GSLV on its eighth launch, is scheduled for lift off at 1618 hrs (IST).

The 29 hour countdown to the lift-off started today morning at 1118 hrs (IST). At the time of writing this post, things are proceeding smoothly. ISRO has been updating through their website and via their new Twitter and Facebook accounts.

This is a critical test for the vehicle as a whole. I had elaborated on some of the improvements that ISRO has made to this vehicle, the GSLV Mk-II, in a previous post. The success of this launch would set the agenda and the time table for India’s communication satellite launches, interplanetary missions and the human space flight programme.

In fact, most of the media reports have also concentrated on the vehicle and largely ignored reporting on the payload, the GSAT-14. Besides the usual C-band and Ku-band transponders, it is carrying a fibre optic gyro, active pixel sun sensor, Ka band propogation experiments and thermal control coating experiments. What these things are not explained even in the ISRO brochure.

The Doordarshan telecast and webcast begins rather at 1552 hrs (IST). It does seem rather too precise, does it not?

I am not going to try and live-blog this launch. I prefer to write here after I experience all the excitement there is and write here rather calmly.

Best wishes to ISRO and Godspeed GSLV-D5 and GSAT-14.

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