In an incident that may be labeled as ‘mission failed’ of major significance, ISRO’s GSLV-F10 failed despite successfully taking off. With the EOS (Earth Observation Satellite) – 03 on board, the d GSLV-F10 rocket took off at its scheduled 05:43 hours, but due to “technical anomaly”, the mission eventually failed.

After the unsuccessful attempt, former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair expressed his shock but claimed that the space agency is resilient enough to bounce back.


In a major setback for India’s space agency Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the EOS carrying GSLV-F10 couldn’t successfully complete all the stages of lift off and the EOS now remains undeployed. The setback is even more significant as this was the first major launch from the space agency which couldn’t move on with several of its schedule missions due to the COVID-19 induced multiple lockdowns.

After the unsuccessful launch, ISRO released a statement which read, “GSLV-F10 launch took place today at 0543 Hrs IST as scheduled. Performance of the 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.”

The term ‘technical anomaly’ was used by the current ISRO chief Mr. K. Sivan as well who said-

“(The mission) could not be fully accomplished mainly because there is a technical anomaly observed in the cryogenic stage. This I wanted to tell all my friends.”

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This is what happened with GSLV-F10/EOS-03 Mission

On August 12, the GSLV-F10 with a height of almost 10 story building (51.70 meter) was waiting on the Sriharikota’s spaceport. The rocket was scheduled to be launched at 05.43 am.

With all systems checked, the authorization personnel cleared the decks and the engineers sitting at the command centers were pleased with the successful blast off.

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The Successful Liftoff, The Eventual Failure

The first 2 stages of the mission were registered successfully. Little did the engineers at ISRO know that their smiles would soon turn into stern frowns.

The third stage of the launch did not commence or get executed as planned. Images of scientists huddling up in discussions were seen.

Soon, an announcement was made, which led to the sinking of several space enthusiasts’ faces. The announcement came from the Mission Control Center and the Range Operations Director said, “Mission could not be accomplished fully due to performance anomaly”.

Later, the range director announced that the anomaly was observed in the cryogenic stage of the launch.

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What is Cryogenic Stage?

For the unversed, the cryogenic stage is one where the launch rockets make use of its materials in the extremely low temperatures to lift the heavier objects to space. For this, cryogenic engines are used. These cryogenic engines take up liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as the agents which will propel the rocket. These propellants are stored in the tanks and from the tanks, the propellants are sent into the turbo pump.

According to ISRO-

“Cryogenic stage is technically a very complex system compared to solid or earth-storable liquid propellant stages due to its use of propellants at extremely low temperatures and the associated thermal and structural problems.”

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What was on board the GSLV-F10?

As mentioned earlier, the GSLV-F10 was carrying the Earth Observation Satellite (EOS-03). The satellite was launched with the aim of disaster management and aversion. The EOS would have let the country to monitor natural disasters in real-time.

Further, the satellite was equipped with the features which would have let it take the entire imageing of India at least 4-5 times every day.