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The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said on Sunday that the satellites aboard its first Small Satellite Launch Vehicle are “no longer usable” after SSLV-D1 put them into an elliptical orbit instead of a circular one.
The space agency said the committee will analyze and issue recommendations by Sunday’s episode and with the implementation of these recommendations, “ISRO will be back with SSLV-D2 soon”. “SSLV-D1 placed the satellites in an elliptical orbit measuring 356 km x 76 km instead of a circular orbit of 356 km. Satellites are no longer usable. The problem is adequately identified. Failure of the logic to identify the sensor failure and take rescue action caused the deviation,” ISRO said in an update on its official Twitter account.
On its maiden mission, the SSLV launch vehicle carried the EOS-02 Earth observation satellite and the companion student satellite AzaadiSAT.
SSLV suffered “data loss” in its terminal phase after performing “as expected” in all phases. This happened earlier after it took off from the spaceport here on Sunday morning.
EOS-02 and AzaadiSAT
The EOS-02 Earth observation satellite and the AzaadiSAT student companion satellite are the main payloads for the SSLV.
EOS-02 is an experimental optical remote sensing satellite with high spatial resolution. It involves the implementation and flight of an experimental imaging satellite with a short turnaround time and a demonstration of the launch-on-demand capability. EOS-02 belongs to the microsatellite series of spacecraft.
AzaadiSAT is an 8U CubeSat weighing around 8 kilograms. It can carry 75 different payloads, each weighing around 50 grams. Female students from rural areas across the country were given instructions to build these payloads.
The payload is being integrated by the student team ‘Space Kidz India’. The ground system developed by ‘Space Kidz India’ will be used to receive data from this satellite, ISRO said.
PSLV also failed its maiden flight
This is not the first time that ISRO has faced setbacks on its first launch missions, as the PSLV – touted as one of the space agency’s trusted lifters – was not successful on its maiden flight back on September 20, 1993.
After its first successful launch in October 1994, PSLV has proven to be India’s reliable and versatile launch vehicle with 39 consecutive successful missions till June 2017.
It successfully launched CHANDRAYAAN-1 in 2008 and also the Mars Orbiter spacecraft in 2013, which later traveled to the Moon and Mars.
The maiden flight of the GSLV in April 2001 carrying GSAT-1 was a success for ISRO. Since January 2014, the vehicle has achieved four consecutive successes, ISRO said.
First development flight of GSLV Mk-III successfully placed GSAT-19 satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) on 5 June 2017.