ISRO "Naughty Boy" Rocket Redeems Itself, Soars with New Weather Satellite

ISRO GSLV rocket, nicknamed "naughty boy"  successfully launched the INSAT-3DS weather satellite on Feb 17th. This marks a positive step for India's space program and potentially enhances weather forecasting

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In a recent launch, India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), nicknamed "naughty boy" for its past inconsistencies, successfully lifted off with the INSAT-3DS weather satellite onboard. GSLV-F14 marked ISRO's 93rd mission and the space agency's second mission of the year.


This launch held immense importance for the GSLV, previously facing criticism due to inconsistencies in its performance. However,  the rocket roared to life on 17th February ,2024 precisely at 5:35 PM IST, carrying the 2,274-kg INSAT-3DS into its designated orbit. This mission marked the 16th for the GSLV and its 10th flight using the indigenously developed cryogenic engine.

ISRO chairman S. Somanth expressed his jubilation in announcing the successful completion of GSLV-F14 mission during a post-launch speech, referring to the mission by its numerical designation. He also stated that the spacecraft had been placed into a highly satisfactory orbit.

The term "naughty boy" actually refers to the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket used to launch satellites. This rocket has earned the nickname "naughty boy" due to its inconsistent performance history, with some successful launches and others ending in failure.


In Spite of that, the recent successful launch of the GSLV rocket carrying the INSAT-3DS weather satellite on February 17, 2024. As of today, February 19, 2024, the GSLV rocket (naughty boy) has fulfilled its mission and is no longer operational. It performed flawlessly during the launch, placing the INSAT-3DS satellite into its intended orbit.

However, the INSAT-3DS satellite, not the naughty boy rocket, is now operational. It will collect weather data for the next 10 years, enhancing India's weather forecasting and disaster warning capabilities.

GSLV: A journey of Triumphs and Tribulations


The journey has been marked by both remarkable achievements and setbacks, earning it the nickname "naughty boy" due to its inconsistent performance. Here's a glimpse into the GSLV's story:

During its early years from 2001 to 2004, the GSLV faced both successes and challenges. The inaugural GSLV-D1 launch in April 2001 failed to achieve orbit for the GSAT-1 satellite. However, December 2001 saw a significant milestone with the successful deployment of GSAT-2 by GSLV-D2. Challenges arose in May 2003 with the GSLV-E1 encountering issues related to cryogenic engines. Despite setbacks, September 2004 witnessed success as GSLV-F01 placed INSAT-3A into orbit, demonstrating India's capacity for launching heavier satellites.

Between 2005 and 2014, the GSLV experienced a series of mixed results. In July 2006, the GSLV-F02 launch ended in failure due to a payload fairing malfunction. However, in April 2007, the GSLV-F3 successfully launched INSAT-4C, showcasing its capability. September 2007 saw another setback as the GSLV-F4 mission failed due to cryogenic engine problems. Despite these challenges, December 2009 marked a crucial achievement with GSLV-D3 successfully injecting GSAT-4 into orbit. The GSLV-F05 mission in April 2010 failed to deliver the GSAT-5P satellite, earning the rocket the nickname "naughty boy." However, December 2014 brought a glimmer of success as GSLV-D5 successfully launched GSAT-14.


In January 2015, the GSLV-Mk I-D6 mission encountered challenges attributed to cryogenic upper stage issues. However, December 2015 marked a significant milestone as the GSLV-Mk II successfully deployed GSAT-15, representing a pivotal moment for the program. In June 2017, the GSLV-F09 experienced a failure during the final stage of its flight, presenting another setback. Nevertheless, in November 2018, the GSLV-Mk III-D1 successfully injected GSAT-17 into orbit, showcasing the capabilities of the new variant. January 2021 saw the GSLV-F10 mission encountering failure due to a payload fairing anomaly. However, February 2024 brought a remarkable achievement as GSLV-F14 flawlessly launched the INSAT-3DR weather satellite, marking a significant advancement for the program.

Additionally, the ISRO chairman also affirmed the joint endeavor with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) called NISAR is proceeding according to plan. NISAR stands for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, a cooperative Earth-observing project between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). This mission employs two radars, each specialized to observe a wider range of changes, thereby amplifying its observational capacities beyond those of a single radar.

The Main Goals of the Mission include:

  • Monitoring Earth's surface and conducting oceanic observations, along with assessing its environment using different spectral channels crucial for meteorological purposes.
  • Offering vertical profiles of various atmospheric meteorological parameters.
  • Providing capabilities for data collection and dissemination from Data Collection Platforms (DCPs).
  • Offering Satellite Aided Search and Rescue services.

This mission holds crucial implications for India, enabling better preparedness for extreme weather events and improving environmental monitoring. Additionally, the successful launch signifies a crucial step forward for ISRO's determined space agenda, including upcoming missions like Chandrayaan-3 and Gaganyaan.

This launch marks the first time an Indian satellite carries a dedicated Search and Rescue (SAR) transponder. This transponder picks up distress signals from emergency beacons activated by individuals, aircraft, or ships in danger, pinpointing their location with high accuracy. The INSAT-3DS then relays this information to rescue coordination centers for faster response, potentially saving lives, especially in remote areas. This collaboration between ISRO and international SAR systems highlights the mission's humanitarian impact.


Although the cryogenic engine on the GSLV has faced issues in the past, its successful performance in this mission signifies advancements in domestic technology development. Additionally, the satellite itself carries several domestically developed instruments, reducing dependence on foreign technology and showcasing India's growing capability in space exploration.


Improved Weather Forecasting: More accurate weather data from INSAT-3DS can help telecom companies better anticipate and prepare for weather-related network disruptions. This could lead to faster restoration times and improved network resilience during storms, floods, or other extreme weather events.


Enhanced Disaster Management: Better disaster warnings facilitated by INSAT-3DS data could help telecom companies prioritize network repairs in affected areas, ensuring faster communication restoration and facilitating rescue efforts.

Precision Agriculture: Data from INSAT-3DS could be used for precision agriculture practices, leading to better crop yields and potentially enabling the creation of IoT-based solutions for remote monitoring of agricultural land. This could involve partnerships between telecom companies and agricultural service providers, creating new revenue opportunities.

Technological Advancement: The launch further strengthens India's space program and could attract foreign investment and collaboration in space-related technologies. This could  benefit the telecom industry by fostering innovation in areas like satellite communication and remote sensing, potentially leading to new applications and services.

National Image Boost: A successful space program enhances India's global image, potentially attracting talent and investment in various sectors, including telecom. This could  stimulate infrastructure development and technological advancement in the industry.

The launch of INSAT-3DR via the "naughty boy" rocket represents a significant leap forward for ISRO and the Indian space program, signifying the nation's overcoming its boundaries of scientific achievement and contributing meaningfully to global advancements in space exploration and satellite technology.

The article has been written by Rashi Grover