Nipple Joint Leak In Cryogenic Engine Lead To Chandrayaan-2 Launch Being Called Off
Chandrayaan 2 (Photo Credits: IANS)

Sriharikota, July 16: After the launch of Chandrayaan-2 was deferred on July 15, scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) worked overnight to find the loophole which led to the abortion of India’s second mission to the Moon. The lunar mission was aborted 56 minutes and 24 seconds before the lift-off due to a 'technical snag' in the launch vehicle system. While checking as to what went wrong in the process, the teams found that there was a leak in the GSLV-MkIII cryogenic engine to a ‘nipple joint’ of the helium gas bottle. The joint supplies pressure to the fuel and oxidiser, a report by TOI stated.  However, why it happened still remains a question.

The report quoted a senior official saying that the best part is the issue can be fixed without dismantling the rocket as there is an access door to the gas bottle which is at the top the oxygen tank. However, the official said that until the reason of the leak is known, chances are high that the problem would re-occur. The official added that as there is no need to dismantle the machine, Chandrayaan-2 may be able to take off before the end of the July launch window after the final failure analysis. ‘Right Decision to Call Off Chandrayaan-2 Mission,’ Say Experts.

What is a Cryogenic Rocket Engine

A cryogenic rocket engine is a rocket engine that uses a cryogenic fuel or oxidizer, that is, its fuel or oxidizer (or both) are gases liquefied and stored at very low temperatures. Cryogenic Engine makes use of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) as propellants which liquefy at -183 Degree Celsius and -253 Degree Celsius respectively.

Earlier, the launch of Chandrayaan 2 was scheduled in the first week of January 2019 but shifted it to July 15. ISRO Associate Director (Public Relations) B R Guruprasad on Monday said a technical snag was observed in the launch vehicle system at-minus 56 minutes. “As a measure of abundant precaution Chandrayaan 2 launch has been called off for today,” ISRO Associate Director (Public Relations) B R Guruprasad said. A revised launch date will be announced later, he added. “Launch is called off due to technical snag. It is not possible to make the launch within the (launch) window. (A new) launch schedule will be announced later,” another ISRO official said.

Chandrayaan 2, the Rs 978 crore lunar mission, on-board the heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle GSLV-Mk-III, nicknamed 'Baahubali', would have taken 54 days to accomplish the task of landing on the Moon through meticulously planned orbital phases.

Chandrayaan 2: Where Is The Spacecraft Now & When It Will Reach The Moon; Know ISRO Mission's Path

Hours after Chandrayaan-2 launch was called off, former ISRO chief K Madhavan Nair recalled that India’s first mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan 1, too had experienced a similar problem shortly before the rocket could blast off. Nair said ISRO scientists had found and rectified the error and the mission took off as planned. Chandrayaan-1 made more than 3,400 orbits around the Moon during its operational life of 312 days and detected water in vapour form on the lunar surface.