The much awaited launch of GSLV-D5 , ISRO's geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle, was aborted an hour and 14 minutes before lift off. A fuel leak detected in the launch vehicle's second stage, even as the indigenous cryogenic engine was being fuelled, led to the countdown being stopped one hour 14 minutes and 20 seconds before the scheduled launch of 4.50 pm.
"We are calling off the launch," ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan told the media. "We will drain out the fuel in the second stage, in the four strap-on motors and the cryogenic stage, and then move the vehicle to the vehicle assembly area and make an assessment of the cause of the leak and the action to be taken." After looking at the data and assessing the action to be taken, a fresh date for the launch will be announced, he added. GSLV's second stage is powered by liquid fuel comprising nitrogen tetroxide and unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine and hydrazine hydrate.
GSLV-D5 was scheduled to put GSAT-14 weighing 1,982 kg into a geosynchronous transfer orbit 213 km above the earth 17 minutes into its flight. ISRO had been working hard to succeed this time as four of its previous seven (and two of the last three) GSLV launches have failed. Success is critical for ISRO to establish its credibility as a launcher of heavy communication satellites into orbit - a lucrative market in the satellite launch business.