Isro's new rocket SSLV fails to deliver
09 August 2022
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro’s) latest satellite launch vehicle, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D1) lifted off with a 145 kg earth observation satellite-02 (EOS-02) formerly known as Microsatellite-2, on Sunday morning, but failed to place the satellite in the right orbit.
The first developmental flight SSLV-D1/EOS-02 Mission lifted off at 09:18 am (IST) on Sunday (7 August) from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. SSLV-D1 mission was to launch EOS-02, a 135 kg Satellite, into low earth orbit of about 350 km to the equator, at an inclination of about 37 degrees.
Piggybacking on that was the eight kg AzadiSAT built by 750 students of government schools facilitated by SpaceKidz India.
At about 9.18 am the 34 metre tall and 120 tonne rocket broke free of the first launch pad and started its maiden journey carrying the two satellites.
The rocket went up the sky with a thick orange flame and slowly gathered speed, but failed to deliver the EOS satellite into its orbit within the scheduled 12 minutes time.
“All the stages performed normal. Both the satellites were injected. But, the orbit achieved was less than expected, which makes it unstable,” Isro stated in a note on its website.
Isro developed the small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) to cater the launch of up to 500 kg satellites to Low Earth Orbits on ‘launch-on-demand’ basis.
SSLV is configured with three solid stages 87 t, 7.7 t and 4.5 t. The satellite insertion into the intended orbit is achieved through a liquid propulsion-based velocity trimming module. SSLV is capable of launching Mini, Micro, or Nanosatellites (10 to 500 kg mass) to a 500 km planar orbit. SSLV provides low-cost access to space on demand basis. It offers low turn-around time, flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, launch-on-demand feasibility, minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc. SSLV-D1 is a 34 m tall, 2 m diameter vehicle having a lift-off mass of 120 t.
EOS-02 is an earth observation satellite designed and developed by Isro. This microsat series satellite offers advanced optical remote sensing operating in infra-red band with high spatial resolution. The bus configuration is derived from IMS-1 bus.
AzaadiSAT is a 8U Cubesat weighing around 8 kg. It carries 75 different payloads each weighing around 50 grams and conducting femto-experiments. Girl students from rural regions across the country were provided guidance to build these payloads. The payloads are integrated by the student team of “Space Kidz India”. The payloads include a UHF-VHF Transponder working in ham radio frequency to enable voice and data transmission for amateur radio operators, a solid state PIN diode-based Radiation counter to measure the ionising radiation in its orbit, a long-range transponder and a selfie camera. The ground system developed by ‘Space Kidz India’ will be utilised for receiving the data from this satellite.
According to Isro, the SSLV is a ready to transfer rocket with modular and unified systems with standard interfaces for production by the industry.
The commercial arm of Isro, NewSpace India Ltd, was planning to transfer the SSLV technology for production in the private sector.
The new technologies realised for the Microsat series of spacecrafts include payloads with a common fore optics and metallic primary mirror realised with the limited mass and volume of Microsat Bus, ISRO said.
With the new launch vehicle included in its product lineup, ISRO will have three rockets — Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and its variants (cost about Rs 200 crore), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-MkII cost about Rs 272 crore and Mk III Rs 434 crore) and SSLV (Development cost of three rockets about Rs 56 crore each) and production cost may go down later.