India launches new rocket, but has problems with satellite placement


Indian Space Agency ISRO debuted a new satellite launch vehicle, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, or SSLV, with a launch from Sriharikota, India, on Sunday, August 7, at 09:18 local time. The rocket launched as planned and deployed two satellites, the EOS-02 Earth observation satellite and the CubeSat AzaadiSAT, filled with payloads created by students and schoolchildren. However, these satellites were put into the wrong orbit and have since been destroyed.

The SSLV rocket is designed to carry small satellites weighing up to 500 kilograms (1,102 lb) into Earth orbit to serve both ISRO and commercial needs. This mission, called SSLV-D1, was the first launch of the rocket, which has been in development since 2015.

ISRO’s small satellite launch vehicle will launch for the first time from Sriharikota, India on Sunday, August 7. ISRO

U video statement, S. Somanath, Chairman, ISRO, said that the first three stages of the SSLV performed nominally and that the overall performance of the vehicle was very good. When the rocket reached an altitude of about 350 kilometers, both the satellites separated, Somanath said, “However, we subsequently noticed an anomaly in the positioning of the satellites in orbit. The satellites were placed in an elliptical orbit instead of a circular one. A circular orbit of 356 km was our intended orbit, but it placed the satellites in a 356 by 76 kilometer elliptical orbit.’

The problem with putting satellites in elliptical orbits, where they are sometimes closer to Earth and sometimes further away, is that drag will degrade the orbits over time, and eventually the satellites will burn up in the atmosphere. “The satellites have already descended from this orbit and are no longer usable,” he said.

He also said the cause of the problem with the SSLV was determined to be a logic problem that failed to detect a sensor failure, but further investigation is ongoing. He stressed that all other components of the rocket were working as intended and ISRO is optimistic that only minor tweaks to the rocket system will be needed before the second development flight, SSLV-D2, can go ahead.

“We hope that with the second development flight, we will be fully successful in testing the vehicle to place satellites in their intended orbit for commercial use, for India and the world,” Somanath said.

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India launches new rocket, but has problems with satellite placement

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