Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 14:21 UK

India cryogenic satellite space launch fails


Dr K. Radhakrishnan blamed the failure on the non-ignition of the spacecraft's rockets

India's bid to launch an advanced communications satellite into orbit for the first time by using a cryogenic engine has failed, scientists say.

The rocket took off as planned but the phase powered by the new engine failed to perform and deviated from its path.

The engine burns hydrogen in the presense of oxygen, both stored at very low temperatures to be liquid. They would otherwise be gas.

Officials say few countries in the world have this technology.

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman K Radhakrishnan said that an investigation would now be held to find out what exactly went wrong.

Scientists say the mission failed because control of the two engines controlling the satellite was lost, resulting in loss of altitude and velocity.

Journalists at the scene of the launch said that scientists in the mission control area at Sriharikota in eastern India initially clapped and rejoiced after what appeared to be a successful launch - but their disappointment was apparent as the rocket deviated from its course.

India began developing cryogenic technology after Russia reneged on a deal to supply cryogenic engines in 1993 - following pressure from the United States, which believed India was using the technology to power missiles.

A limited group of spacefaring interests have developed cryogenic engines, including the US, Russia, Japan, China and Europe.

India hopes to emerge as a global player in the multi-billion dollar satellite launch market.

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