ISRO faces setback as maiden SSLV mission
Indian Space Research Organisation's tryst with history suffered a setback on 7 August 2022, as the maiden Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) suffered "data loss" at the terminal stage, although three stages "performed and separated" as planned and the scientists were "currently analysing" the data to ascertain the cause behind it.
- The two satellites -- Earth Observation Satellite and the AzaadiSAT -- got separated as planned.
- The Earth Observation Satellite EOS-02 and the co-passenger student satellites AzaadiSAT are the major payloads for the SSLV.
- The EOS-02 is an experimental optical remote sensing satellite with a high spatial resolution.
- The AzaadiSAT is a 8U CubeSat weighing around 8 kilograms. It carries 75 different payloads each weighing around 50 grams. 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 ground system developed by 'Space Kidz India' will be utilised for receiving the data from this satellite.
- SSLV-D1 placed the satellites into 356 km x 76 km elliptical orbit instead of 356 km circular orbit.
- Satellites are no longer usable. Issue is reasonably identified. Failure of a logic to identify a sensor failure and go for a salvage action caused the deviation.
- With the new variant, ISRO now has three rockets — Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and its variants (costing ₹200 crore); Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-Mk II and Mk III) and its variants (Mk II costing ₹275 crore and Mk III around ₹435 crore) and SSLV (development cost of around ₹55 crore).
- SSLV was configured with three solid stages. The satellite insertion into the intended orbit was achieved through a liquid propulsion-based velocity trimming module.
- It is capable of launching mini, micro, or nanosatellites (10 to 500 kg mass) to a 500 km planar orbit.
- It is not the first time for ISRO to face a setback on its maiden launch missions as PSLV -- dubbed as one of the trusted workhorses for the space agency -- was not successful in its first flight way back on 20 September 1993.
- After its first successful launch in October 1994, PSLV emerged as the reliable and versatile launch vehicle of India.
- It had successfully launched the CHANDRAYAAN-1 in 2008 and also the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013 that later travelled to the Moon and Mars, respectively.
- The first flight of GSLV in April 2001 carrying GSAT-1 was successful for ISRO.
- The first developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III successfully placed GSAT-19 satellite to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on 5 June 2017.