PSLV-C39 mission fails; IRNSS-H1 satellite trapped inside heat shield of the rocket

Sriharikotas: Indian Space Research Organization (Isro)’s attempt to augment the country’s indigenous navigation services became unsuccessful as the heat shield of the PSLV rocket did not open though the IRNSS-1H satellite reached sub-geosynchronous transfer orbit on Thursday.
The PSLV-C39 took the satellite to orbit but the heat shield tip or the rocket inside which the satellite is housed did not open. It was scheduled to open 3 minutes and 23 seconds into the flight of the rocket.
ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar said, “the mission was unsuccessful. All stages of the mission performed well. But there was a mishap. The satellite is still inside the fourth stage. The heat shield did not separate, as a result the satellite is enclosed in the body of the fourth stage. So, the mission is unsuccessful. We have to check heat shield separation command and whatever happened subsequently and it will be analyzed.”
He also said that “we could see the satellite circling along the orbit along with the heat shield.”
IRNSS-1H, the eighth in the NavIC constellation, was to replace IRNSS-1A, the first satellite in the constellation whose rubidium atomic clocks had stopped functioning. The clocks are a critical component in providing accurate locational data.
The atomic clocks in IRNSS-1A stopped due to issues in critical factors like temperature, rubidium bulb that produce light and electronic power supply, said Isro officials
IRNSS-1A, launched on July 1, 2013, will, however, continue to provide messaging services. Last year, Isro scientists found that all the three atomic clocks installed in the satellite stopped. But Isro officials said the failure of the clocks will not affect the performance of the navigation system, as a minimum of four satellites is enough to provide services. Isro has six satellites in orbit that are fully functional.

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