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Indian Rocket Launch A Failure

April 15, 2010

Indian space engineers who launched a rocket with new booster technology on Thursday lost contact with it soon after lift-off, causing a major blow to the country’s ambitions of space exploration.

The rocket, powered by cryogenic motors — a complex technology mastered by only five countries — failed just minutes after launch from India’s Sriharikota space center in southeast Andhra Pradesh state.

K. Radhakrishnan, chairman for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), told AFP reporters that controllability of the rocket was lost as it began tumbling soon after lift-off.

India had previously imported seven cryogenic engines from Russia, using five to launch satellites over the past ten years. The technology behind the cryogenic boosters is intended to lift heavier satellites into high orbits — about 22,000 miles above earth, ISRO said.

Supercooled liquid fuel boosters and the technology has only been successfully developed by the US, Russia, France, Japan and China.

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