The Indian Space Research Organization’s attempt to augment the country’s navigation services became unsuccessful as the satellite failed to leave the rocket’s heat shield on its scheduled time.
This was ISRO’s only failed satellite launching mission after the failure of PSLV-D1 in 1993.
In what came as a disappointment to all the scientists working on the mission, the satellite IRNSS-1H failed to separate from the heat shield of the rocket PSLV-C39 in orbit, after being launched from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota on Thursday.
After successful launch, the IRNSS-1H would have been the eighth in the NavIC constellation.
Scientists at the Space Centre said that the heat shield of the rocket did not open to release the satellite in orbit due to the satellite carrying 1 ton more weight than was actually permitted, due to which it was trapped in the rocket’s heat shield. The rocket was scheduled to open within 3 minutes 23 seconds of flight.
‘The mission is unsuccessful. We can see the satellite circling in orbit with the heat shield. The satellite continues to be in the fourth stage, where it was supposed to detach from the heat shield. We will check the heat shield separation command and analyze everything related to the mishap,’ ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar reportedly said.
IRNSS-1A, launched in July 2013 is currently in orbit and supports messaging services, though three of its atomic clocks have stopped working due to issues in critical factors including temperature, electronic power supply and rubidium bulbs.
Till the successful re-launch of IRNSS-1H, though, IRNSS-1A will continue to provide messaging services. According to researchers, a minimum four satellites are enough to provide network services, while ISRO currently has six in orbit.