India's satellite launch ends in failure - report

The launch of India's heaviest communication satellite, Insat-4C, ended in a fiery disaster, hurting India's reputation as a space power, a report from The Times of India said.

The doomed mission could have boosted the country's bid to offer direct-to-home TV service, the report added.

It also placed a big question mark on the future space programs of a country that was planning an unmanned moon mission and delivery systems for nuclear weapons, the report said.

"There seems to be a mishap in the first stage separation. Things have gone wrong," project chairman G Madhavan Nair was quoted as saying.

The launch was dogged by technical problems from the very beginning, officials said.

However, Nair denied any link between the glitch that delayed the launch and the problem that doomed the mission.

The delay was due to a "minor" problem of ground servicing, he said.

One of the pumps with the cryogenic fluid had opened and failed to re-seal. A team had to be sent to close it and ensure that all parameters were normal before the lift-off, the report said.

Nair said the lift-off was normal, but in a few seconds the vehicle was found to be off trajectory and in 60 seconds, some parts had broken up, the report said.

Immediately, the "destruct command" was given to ensure that the wayward rocket would not fall on a populated area. It crashed into the Bay of Bengal, the report said.