India would resume launching satellites in November or December, unfazed by the failure of its rocket in deploying a spare navigation satellite in the earth’s lower orbit on August 31, space agency chief A.S. Kiran Kumar said on Friday. “We will resume the launches by November or December, with one of the remote sensing satellites though we are yet to finalise with which,” said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Kiran Kumar.
ISRO will schedule its next launch mission after a committee studying the cause of the failure submits its report soon. “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 told reporters on the margins of a space event here.
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) in the orbit as its heat shield did not separate minutes after its successful lift-off from spaceport Sriharikotah, 80km northeast of Chennai. “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,” reiterated Kiran Kumar.
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 August 31 night.
The IRNSS-1H, which was part of the Navigation Indian Constellation (NavIC) as a substitute for IRNSS-1A was to have been deployed 507km above the earth. The Rs 1,420-crore NavIC consists of nine satellites — seven in orbit and two as substitutes (IRNSS-1H and IRNSS-1I).
The ISRO chief, however, 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.