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After probing IRNSS flop, ISRO to resume satellite launches by December

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18 September 2017

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will resume satellite launches by December, putting behind it the failure of its navigation satellite IRNSS-1H launch on 31 August.

The space agency will schedule its next launch mission after a fact-finding committee appointed to find the exact cause of the glitch in the heat separation mechanism of PSLV C39 rocket that carried navigation satellite IRNSS-1H, submits its report.

"We will resume launches by November or December," Isro chairman A S Kiran Kumar told reporters on the margins of a space event in Bengaluru.

"The committee has been set up to go through the report, which will come out soon. Launches will resume after the committee gives its final report.

"We have identified what the problem is and are going through the simulations to make sure what we are concluding is what has exactly happened (heat shield not separating and deploying the satellite in the orbit)," Kiran Kumar said.

In a rare mission failure, the space agency's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C39) could not deliver the 1.4-tonne Indian Regional Navigation Satellite (IRNSS-1H) into orbit as its heat shield did not separate aftear its lift-off from the spaceport at Sriharikotah, 80km northeast of Chennai.

The rocket's heat shield should have separated three minutes after the lift-off, but it failed to. Space scientists at the mission control centre waited for 19 minutes to see if it would separate, and only then declared the mission unsuccessful on the night of 31 August night.

The IRNSS-1H, which was part of the Navigation Indian Constellation (NavIC), was to have been deployed 507km above the earth.

The Rs1,420-crore NavIC consists of nine satellites - seven in orbit and two as substitutes (IRNSS-1H and IRNSS-1I).

The ISRO chief admitted that the failed mission was not insured. "We don't insure our own launches. Whatever launches we do are from the government's money," Kiran Kumar told IANS at the silver jubilee celebrations of the space agency's commercial arm Antrix Corporation Ltd, set up 25 years ago for space business.

Antrix managing director S Rakesh said as a setback the mission failure was a part and parcel of any space business.

"If I see the nature of its setback, it is not a serious one, it is a small hitch as I see it," he said.

Ruling out even short-term impact on Antrix, Rakesh said there was demand for its services.

Echoing the chairman, Dr K Sivan, director of Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) told The Times of India, "We will launch either Cartosat-2 series remote sensing satellite or the replacement satellite IRNSS-1I by November or December. We are yet to finalise which of the two satellites will be launched first."

Dr Sivan said the probe committee was supposed to submit the report by 10th of this month. "But the committee wants some more time as it wants to review some more results (flight data) before coming to any conclusion. We are expecting the report next week," he said.





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