India successfully launched its latest communication satellite GSAT-6, having an indigenous cryogenic engine, onboard the GSLV-D6 rocket from the spaceport in Sriharikota on Thursday, August 27. The feat is the second one for the Indian Space Research Organisation scientists in using the indigenously made cryogenic stage after the January 5, 2014 launch of GSLV-D5.

ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar and other scientists during a press conference after successful launch of GSAT-6 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (ISRO) at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The earlier one had propelled India into an elite group of countries boasting of the homegrown complex cryogenic engine and stage after twin failures in 2010. Describing the successful launch as a 'Onam gift', Mission Director R Umamaheswaran said the 'naughty boy' (cryogenic stage) has now been transformed into the 'most adored boy of the ISRO'.

"ISRO has offered an Onam gift... a reliable launch vehicle with our own Made in India cryogenic stage... which can launch 2-2.5 tonne class satellites," he said. "We have demonstrated what happened in January 2014 was no fluke, it was a result of tremendous effort put in by the entire team for the indigenous cryogenic stage... various intricacies of cryogenic have been understood," a jubilant ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said.

ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar during a press conference after successful launch of GSAT-6 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (ISRO) at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh

In a precise text book launch, GSLV-D6 carrying the 2117 kg GSAT-6 lifted off at 4.52 pm from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here and placed the satellite in orbit, after about 17 minutes. ISRO is the sixth space agency in the world after those of US, Russia, Japan, China and France to have joined the indigenous cryogenic regime, which is crucial for launch of heavier satellites weighing more than two tonnes.

ISRO's communication satellite GSAT-6 on board GSLV-D6

ISRO's communication satellite GSAT-6 on board GSLV-D6

ISRO's communication satellite GSAT-6 on board GSLV-D6

(Text and pictures: PTI)