Indian rocket suffers catastrophic failure during launch, Earth-watching satellite lost

India's 2021 launch was a failure.Shortly after it launched from India's Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota Island, eastern India, a rocket carrying an Indian satellite that provides Earth-observation data for the Indian Space Research Organisation suffered a catastrophic failure. The liftoff took place at 5:43 AM local time in India (13:13 PM EDT Aug 11/0013 GMT).India's first launch failure since 2017 occurred after the rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch vehicle (12 stories tall), had ignited its cryogenic third phase.After the failure of the mission, ISRO chair K. Sivan stated that the launch could not be completed because of a technical anomaly in the cryogenic stage.Video: Watch India’s GSLV rocket launch on an ill-fated launchOn Aug. 12, 2021, an Indian GLSV rocket carrying EOS-O3 earth observation satellite for Indian Space Research Organisation takes off from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota Island. It did not reach orbit. Image credit: ISROThe EOS-03 Earth observation satellite, which ISRO designed to be an "state-of the-art" tool to study the planet, was lost with the GSLV rocket. According to an ISRO mission description, the satellite was expected to work for at least 10 years to provide near-real-time images of India and track short-term events. It also collected data to aid agriculture and forestry by monitoring crops health.Spaceflight Now reported that the GSLV launch failed after 14 consecutive successful launches by ISRO. The 2017 failure of an Indian rocket carrying a satellite for India's Regional Navigation Satellite System, was the catalyst. SpaceNews reports that India's 2017 PSLV failure was its first in 20 years.Related: India's spaceflight plans come together despite delaysA Indian Geosynchronous Satellite Launch vehicle carrying the EOS 3 satellite is seen preparing to launch from the Satish Dhawan space center at 8:43 PM EDT on August 11, 2021. Launch took place at 8:43 p.m. EDT on Aug. 12, 2021. Image credit: ISROIndia's last year in space has been difficult.The country's first launches were stopped after the January 2020 launch of EOS-01. This was during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two missions were launched in November and December to restart the program. The November launch of the EOS-01 Earth observation satellite successfully put into orbit.According to an Indian Express report, the delays caused by the pandemic forced ISRO to launch EOS-03 before the EOS-2 mission. EOS-2 was originally scheduled to fly in March 2021. The report said that the mission was rescheduled for September, and ISRO had plans to launch at most four more missions before the end of 2021.As ISRO investigates the causes of the GSLV launch disaster, all five missions will be put on hold.Editor's Note: This story is still in development and will be updated when new details about ISRO's launch failure become available.Tariq Malik can be reached at, or on Twitter @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom on Facebook and Instagram.