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Space Technology

India Launches Indigenous Cryogenic Rocket 126

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-the-stars-and-beyond dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) today successfully launched its heavy-duty rocket — the Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch vehicle (GSLV). The communication satellite, GSAT-14 was launched from Isro's spaceport at Sriharikota, about 80 km from Chennai. ISRO had to develop the cryogenic technology from scratch after the United States prevented Russia from transferring the technology to the India in 1993. Today's successful launch marks the culmination of a 20 year effort to develop the engine."
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India Launches Indigenous Cryogenic Rocket

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The only reason we would care about it being cryogenic is that certain fuels and oxiders are not liquid at room temperature.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by KingOfBLASH (620432)

      Curry Tindaloo. I know that makes me blast off when I go to the toilet.

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @09:58AM (#45870461)

      A little googling says it uses solid fuel boosters, plus a non-cryogenic second stage powered by a Vikas engine running off dinitrogen tetroxide as an oxidiser for an unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine fuel. The cryogenic part though is the third stage powered by a new engine, the CE-7.5, which runs off good old liquid hydrogen and oxygen. About as simple a fuel as you can get, chemically. They are already working on the CE-20, which packs a much higher thrust albeit at a slightly lower specific impulse.

      Or, in internet terms: It's powered by the Rockomac Skipper, but they're saving up science points for the Mainsail.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @09:46AM (#45870409) Homepage Journal
    The insight and expert leadership http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Space_Research_Organisation#Goals_and_objectives [wikipedia.org] really seems to have worked out very well long term.
    From early testing to advancing skills within India seems to have been the key. So many other nations try to buy in, but end up with expensive, limited export grade tech transfers.
    • Re:Great for India (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday January 05, 2014 @10:07AM (#45870509)
      Yeah so you could say that in a way, the US is slicing its own throat yet again by trying to bully other countries and deny them "access" to technology when they don't do as they are told. It's pretty arrogant to assume that said countries can never come up with technological advances on their own. But hey - thanks America! You're right, we DON'T need you anymore!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Uh. It's not assuming that said countries can't.

        It's assuming they will take a lot longer to do so and by the time it's hopefully no longer your problem but your successor's problem ;).

        • by Anonymous Coward

          your successor's problem

          I think this is really big part of the actual problem.

      • Exactly correct sir. And also, now that India has it's own sense of not only stability, but also accomplishment, we can expect their rates to go up for services rendered. I mean, at what point do we stop calling India a 3rd-world?
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I mean, at what point do we stop calling India a 3rd-world?

          Actually, at what point does everyone start using the term correctly? Since India was not an ally of the the US during the Cold War, it was categorized as "3rd World", meaning "non-aligned with either the Western or Soviet Bloc". I consider the term obsolete since the Cold War is over; it's more accurate to categorize India as "former 3rd World" maybe.

          • Right, but everyone associates "3rd-world" with not achieving a certain level of health, education, and developmental abilities. What would be the correct terminology to use in place of what we're all calling "3rd-world"?
            • by swillden (191260)

              What would be the correct terminology to use in place of what we're all calling "3rd-world"?

              Developing world or, if referring to one specific country, developing nation.

        • I mean, at what point do we stop calling India a 3rd-world?

          When it becomes aligned with Russia or America. First World [wikipedia.org], Second World [wikipedia.org], Third World [wikipedia.org]. I'm curious why do you think India is stable?

          • It's more stable than the US. Have you heard about the Indian government shutting down lately? Or maybe India has some credit problems which it can only solve by raising the debt limit? For Satan's sake! The USA don't even have a decent cricket league.
      • by Immerman (2627577)

        Think of it in strategy game terms: India and China are both destined to become major competitors of the US - we can't ethically stop them, but we don't have to help them either. Any slight delay is a long-term advantage, if only in allowing us to capture a little more territory before firm borders are established - physical or otherwise. In this case any research points they spend recreating our efforts are points they don't spend on developing technologies that may come to surpass ours.

        Maybe not the gre

      • by cyn1c77 (928549)

        Yeah so you could say that in a way, the US is slicing its own throat yet again by trying to bully other countries and deny them "access" to technology when they don't do as they are told. It's pretty arrogant to assume that said countries can never come up with technological advances on their own. But hey - thanks America! You're right, we DON'T need you anymore!

        Uh, how is the "US slicing its own throat" by not helping India?

        The Indians are obviously smart enough to figure it out themselves, why would they need assistance? It's better for national pride if they do it on their own and they might actually develop some new tech instead of copying old designs.

        Personally, I say more power to them. It's not the US and Russia's job to develop all of the world's space tech and then sell it to everyone else. And I respect them a hell of a lot more than other countries wh

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          India had the tech at a ready to build stage in this own labs by 1990 but seeing as they had the tech untested, they thought why not buy in a tested, launch ready system from Russia at the same time.
          They could then build their own over time while still getting a tested, known system from Russia.
        • Tell that to Monsanto.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @09:47AM (#45870411)

    The United States prevented Russia from transferring cryogenic engine technology to India, so India had to develop this from scratch. And then there is the famous ISRO spy scandal which the CIA is believed to have orchestrated. The CIA is believed to have got top scientists working on the Indian cryogenic engine implicated in a scandal, thus slowing down the program. The supreme court of India recently exonerated the accused scientists of any wrongdoing.

    Please read these:

    http://www.rediff.com/news/column/who-killed-the-isros-cryogenic-engine/20131118.htm
    http://indrus.in/blogs/2013/11/09/cryogenic_countdown_how_the_gslv_became_indias_missile_impossible_30711.html

    • by bigfinger76 (2923613) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @09:58AM (#45870469)
      I can't believe the U.S. would do such a thing to the India.
      • by PPH (736903) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @11:44AM (#45871097)

        I can. As others have pointed out, cryogenic engines are of little military use. ICBMs use solid fuel to be able to launch on moments notice. So blocking this technology (meanwhile India went on to develop solid fuel missiles) was probably intended to protect the US commercial satellite business.

        • LOL. Until SpaceX, US has been out of the Commercial sat business for over a decade. Europe and Russia nuked us on that.
          SpaceX will bring all future launches to US, BUT, for the last 15 years, it has been nothing.

          IOW, no, that had no impact on our policy.
          • by PPH (736903)

            US has been out of the Commercial sat business for over a decade.

            But not for a lack of trying. That's the American way: Fuck with the competition instead of building a better product yourself.

            • Really? How did we try to fuck over the competition?
              • by PPH (736903)

                From the summary:

                United States prevented Russia from transferring the technology to the India in 1993.

                • India was NOT competition. We did not want some of OUR technology that Russia had to go to India. It would be like US giving information about RD-180 to your nation. Yes, part of Russia's tech for hydrolox comes from USA, not from themselves.

                  So, lets try again.
        • by erice (13380)

          I can. As others have pointed out, cryogenic engines are of little military use. ICBMs use solid fuel to be able to launch on moments notice. So blocking this technology (meanwhile India went on to develop solid fuel missiles) was probably intended to protect the US commercial satellite business.

          The first ICBM's used cryogenic fuels. Atlas [wikipedia.org] was vulnerable to a first strike but not considered useless. It took some time to create storable liquid fuels [wikipedia.org] and solids with intercontinental range [wikipedia.org] . No doubt these technologies were blocked too.

          If starting from zero, cryogenic liquid fuel is the quickest way to deliver nukes half way around the world. It requires less development than storable fuels. They are easier to control and to scale up than solid fuels. That means better accuracy and you don't ne

      • They are not the first 'Indians' they screwed.

        • by rts008 (812749)

          Uhmmm...yes they are.

          While I get your point (and agree), the specifics need addressing.
          In other words, you got it backwards, or less than optimum word choice.

          Why did we call Native Americans 'Indians'?
          Because their skin color was similar to the Indians(from India).

          We (Westerners) learned to screw American Indians by screwing the Indian Indians first.
          ("Yo, dawg! I heard you like Indians, so...")

          "It would not be the firs time Indians got screwed." (This would fix the word choice issue.)


          • Why did we call Native Americans 'Indians'?
            Because their skin color was similar to the Indians(from India).

            I rather believe it comes from the fact that early discoverers assumed they had found India (the western way/passage to India).

          • Don't we now get specific by 'dot or feather'?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The United States prevented Russia...

      I am very skeptical of that and of the links you have posted.

      Since when does Russia give a shit what the US tells them to do?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This was just after the Soviet Union broke up. Russia was economically vulnerable back then. Yeltsin was their president. They backed off under pressure from the US, specifically under threats of economic consequence.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        In the early 1990's the tech trade would have been considered as Russia needed loans, US/Russian space funding and the US would have hinted at the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_Technology_Control_Regime [wikipedia.org]
        India already had Agni, Prithvi missile systems making the Missile Technology Control Regime aspect a strange reason to block the deal with Russia.
        Basically lucrative US satellite launches would have faced price cuts with India entering the market with Russia help.
        India lost some time via the Russi
      • by ColaBlizzard (2870167) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @11:22AM (#45870953)

        The United States prevented Russia...

        I am very skeptical of that and of the links you have posted.

        Since when does Russia give a shit what the US tells them to do?

        This link will clarify your doubt. This is a very respectable Indian magazines (India Today) 1993 article: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/us-blocks-critical-cryogenic-deal-forces-india-to-indigenise/1/302683.html [intoday.in] Quote from article:

        Russia caved in only because President Boris Yeltsin is desperate for Western aid to bail out his nation from the economic mess it is in. And the US had also threatened that it would stop all future space contracts with Russia including joint launches. So Yeltsin, who had pledged to uphold the deal when he visited India in January, instructed his negotiators to yield. Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/us-blocks-critical-cryogenic-deal-forces-india-to-indigenise/1/302683.html [intoday.in]

      • no, the US did in fact block Russia from helping India on this. Two reasons why Russia complied:
        1) part of Russia's hydrolox engines come from USA, IOW, we had some legal tie-ups on it; think of USA giving up the tech for RD-180.
        2) US was supporting Russia esp. their space program.
      • by unixisc (2429386)

        Precisely!!! When Russia supplies arms to countries like Iran & Syria and the US can't do a thing about it, why would they care about what the US wants them to do vis a vis India?

        Methinks Russia was miffed at Israel becoming a competitor to them as a leading supplier of defense equipment to India

    • by citizenr (871508)

      Speaking of conspiracy theories, whats up with Indian Nuclear scientists? I read somewhere a lot of them died or went missing in mysterious circumstances in recent years.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @10:00AM (#45870481) Journal
    That is really cool (no pun intended). Developing, or even re-developing, advanced technology will always help your nation. And this rocket is about a LH2/LOX engine, which does not help the military. So, this is about a civil process, which is of more use.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @10:08AM (#45870519)

    Why the US prevented the technology transfer:

    India developed nuclear capability after the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty which created the so-called "Nuclear Club". India is still not a signatory to this treaty, along with Israel, Pakistan, South Sudan, and (now that they've withdrawn from it) North Korea.

    The intent was to prevent them from, or at least slow progress on, developing an ICBM delivery system for nuclear warheads, without them becoming signatory to the treaty. They could have had the technology for the asking, if the became a signatory.

    For this same reason, it's unlikely that there would be a similar transfer to any non-signatory state, and probably not Taiwan, which claims they are abiding to the treaty, but have so far refused to become signatory to it.

    It's pretty hypocritical to complain about the blocking of a technology transfer of this particular technology under the circumstances, given that India tested it's Agni V ICBM last September, and can hit targets in pretty much all of Europe, Asia, and Austrailia, and much of Africa.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cryogenic engines use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. It take a long time to get a missile with a cryo engine ready and primed for launch. For this reason, cryo engines are not used in ICBMs.

      The real reason for the US preventing the tech transfer was that they did not want competition in the satellite launch business.

      • we were already out of the commercial sat launch business 10 years ago. Europe and Russia has owned it for the last 10 years. Heck, we started to launch with China in late 90's, since the US industry was so decimated.
        So, no. this had NOTHING to do with the sat launch.

        Besides, USA is about to get 100% of the free-choice market. The reason is that SpaceX will cost below 1/10 or more of the costs of any other system.
    • false. We stopped the hydrolox transfer. That is of NO USE to an ICBM system. Instead, you need solid fuels for that, which India has. And the blocking of the tech stopped some 10 years ago.
      • false. We stopped the hydrolox transfer. That is of NO USE to an ICBM system.

        False. H2/O2 engines on an ICBM make the ICBM useless for defensive purposes (you can't do a quick launch in response to an attack).

        They CAN be used for a first strike just fine - not like you're on a timetable when YOU are the one initiating the action.

        • true, but then the enemy can spot you fueling them and attack.
          IOW, hydrolox has NO use to a military ICBM. THis is more true because India DOES have the solid fuel motors. Easy enough to build true ICBMs with those and the enemy will never know until the launch.
    • I guess you mix up "South Sudan" with South Africa.
      South Sudan is still close to the stone age.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe now you can devote some effort to provide electricity, running water and toilets to the hundred of millions of Indians who lack such basic services.

  • huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @10:18AM (#45870577) Homepage

    " ...after the United States prevented Russia from transferring the technology to the India in 1993."

    yeah, right.

    how exactly does that work when the united states could even prevent one of its own citizens from transferring highly classified state spy secrets to a british newspaper?

    • yes i know...typo..that's couldnt not could...

      no morning coffee yet...sigh...it sucks not having a 60 second edit window here on slashdot...

      • by danlock4 (1026420)

        it sucks not having a 60 second edit window here on slashdot...

        Maybe so, but that's why /. mandates "Preview" before "Submit". :-)

        • by dryeo (100693)

          Middle click on Reply to This and get a different form of posting which includes being able to post without preview.
          May vary depending on karma

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      " ...after the United States prevented Russia from transferring the technology to the India in 1993."

      yeah, right.

      how exactly does that work when the united states could even prevent one of its own citizens from transferring highly classified state spy secrets to a british newspaper?

      Harken back to 1993 when Soviet Union had just disintegrated and Russians were queueing up in winter snow with loads of rubles in their hands to buy a loaf of bread. That's when the United States could easily arm-twist them over something that wasn't a priority to Russians. There was no Putin then to rebuff the US, they hadn't struck much oil then- it was a very different, impoverished, bruised and politically volatile Russia in 1993.

  • A Reflection (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kgskgs (938843) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @12:45PM (#45871575) Journal

    Indian here. I was in India when the newspapers were brimming with the news of how USA denied the technology to India. Ironically the desire in India grew exponentially when the technology was denied. Suddenly everyone from politicians, scientists, engineers, and even the street food vendors and Bollywood actors were interested in India developing cryogenic engine technology. Many of them couldn't pronounce cryogenic correctly. 99.99% of them didn't have a clue what it really was or what would it mean to their life if India were to develop cryogenic engines.

    This psychological effect is extremely powerful. An Iranian friend told me once "I don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons in general. But if USA and Israel do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, then I want Iran to have nuclear weapons." It's all about sticking it to the big bully, proving yourself. Suddenly it gives a point to the people to rally around.

    And the resentment it causes when people realize that someone else is controlling them is so powerful and pervasive that I think it needs consideration in foreign policy design.

    I am not saying go on handing over technologies to nations. But Americans vastly underestimate this type of resentment. The future potential cost of such resentment should be adequately considered while deciding what is in the best interest of USA. If you really have to do it, then at least launch adequate PR effort.

    • by MickLinux (579158)

      1) Congratulations on the development. 2) I, too, was amused by the indigenous term, not only because I have seen -- for example -- that indigenous aboriginals can sometimes be superior technicians, but also because of the similarity of 'india' vs. 'indigenous', which implies to me it would create a colonial india out in space.

      My, wouldn't I like to see a colonial anything out in space: USA, Russia, China, India, Azerbaijan, whatever.

  • I would imagine that this rocket can now reach anywhere in the world with a fairly heavy payload. This far exceeds the range of their current missiles.
    • by cusco (717999)

      Why the eternal stupidity we see parroted every time that some country makes or attempts a technological advance? "ZOMG IT'S A WEAPON!! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!" The amazing cowardice of the general public never fails to disgust me.

      • by bobwalt (2500092)
        I merely made an observation I did not attach any emotional content.
        • by cusco (717999)

          I just find it annoying that every time a non-First World country acquires some new tech a lot of people automatically assume it's a weapon. Thailand gets a bio-research lab, we hear, "They can make biological weapons!" A chemical plant is constructed in Morocco and the cry goes up, "They can make chemical weapons!" If Argentina were to attempt to refine its (rather abundant) uranium to fuel its "They're going to build a nuke!"

          If any of these things happen in the US, Japan or Europe no one blinks an ey

          • by bobwalt (2500092)
            You are not thinking, Japan does not have thermonuclear weapons. When a country has thermonuclear weapons delivery system become a concern. The accusation of racism is just plain silly for by your own statement Japan is not included. I am not concerned with chemical plants in Morocco or Uranium in Argentina, however, I am a bit concerned about countries who posses thermonuclear weapon and either do not have complete control over the areas in their countries or have enough clean water and food for their po
            • by cusco (717999)

              Japan does not have thermonuclear weapons.

              You're quite sure of this? Why, pray tell? Because they say so? Until very recently Israel made the same claim, though no one with a brain believed them. I doubt the Chinese are as trusting as you are, and a little more grounding in 'International Realities' might be good too.

              If India, Pakistan, Israel or anyone else were so stupid as to want to nuke some city in the US an ICBM would be the worst possible method to use. It's really, really easy to see where it

  • .....technology transfer from the Germans...von Braun........after WWII...

  • India follows the "Sheep Herd" mentality. The whole country's economy is based on people getting into "Profitable" domains mostly following the success of a pioneer in the field. The most recent example of this ideology is the "Business Process Outsourcing" industry. New BPO units are propping up here and there at a dime a dozen leading to a quality deterioration in the final deliverable. This process will continue till a saturation level is reached and then they will wait till another "Killer" domain picks

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