Describing the failure of the GSAT-5P communication satellite launch this evening as "very tragic", India's top space scientists and strategic thinkers on Saturday said the launch vehicle going up in flames soon after the lift off was "a major setback" for ISRO.
Senior space scientist Prof Yashpal, in his first reaction to the failure of the satellite launch, said, "It is very tragic. I think something has happened in early stages. I have never heard of such a thing, as we have had several successes before."
Noting that the GSLV-F06 launch vehicle had disintegrated in its initial stages itself, Yashpal said, "We did not get up to the liquid stage. It is terribly sad that something somewhere has gone amiss. A lot of data is available. So they will be able to find out what went wrong."
He felt that this was "a freak mishap" as the early stages of the launch vehicle had been tested several times by India and have an 100 per cent success rate.
"It (the problem in the launch vehicle) cannot be something fundamentally wrong. It must be something big. It is unfortunate. This is an accident of some sort," he said.
Former ISRO engineer Madan Lal, in his remarks, said there seemed to be "some technical problem" in the first stage of the launch vehicle and not with the Russian cryogenic stage that India was using for the satellite launch this time.
"Cryogenic stage is the third stage of the launch. It (failure) appears not to be linked with the cryogenic stage," he said.
Lal said India had time and again succeeded in the early stages of the launch vehicle and that part was not a problem area for ISRO scientists.
Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) research fellow Ajay Lele said it was "a huge setback" for ISRO. But, he said, the scientists would be able to come back and relaunch the satellite soon.
"It was an important mission for ISRO. It is supposed to be one of the heaviest satellites ever tried by ISRO. In the business of satellite launches, failures are a part of the game," he remarked.