TechnologyNew Indian rocket fails to put satellites in right...

New Indian rocket fails to put satellites in right orbit in debut launch


- Advertisment -spot_imgspot_imgspot_imgspot_img

India’s new rocket launched for the first time on Saturday night (Aug. 6) but failed to deliver its satellite payloads into their intended orbit due to a sensor issue.

The 112-foot-tall (34 meters) Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on India’s southeastern coast on Saturday at 11:48 p.m. EDT (0348 GMT and 9:18 a.m. India Standard Time on Sunday, Aug. 7) with two satellites onboard.

The rocket’s three solid-fueled stages performed well, but its fourth and final stage, a liquid-fueled “velocity trimming module” (VTM), hit a snag: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials reported a loss of data from the rocket and, just over five hours after liftoff, ISRO announced the mission had failed.

“The entire vehicle performance was very good” at the start, but ultimately left the two satellites in the wrong orbit, ISRO Chairman S. Somanath said in a video statement after the launch. “The satellites were placed in an elliptical orbit in place of a circular orbit.”

Related: ISRO: The Indian Space Research Organisation

India's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) launches for the first time, on Aug. 6, 2022.

India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) launches for the first time, on Aug. 6, 2022. (Image credit: ISRO)

Instead of placing the satellites in a circular orbit 221 miles (356 kilometers) above Earth, the rocket left them in an orbit that ranged from 221 miles to as close as 47 miles (76 km). That orbit was not stable, and the satellites have “already come down, and they are not usable,” Somanath said.

ISRO officials said on Twitter that a sensor failure that was not detected in time to switch to a “salvage action” caused the orbit issue. An investigation into the failure is planned. 

“What we are going to do now is to identify this specific problem and why this isolation happened and why it went into an unacceptable orbit,” Somanath said. ISRO will use that investigation to correct issues for a second test flight of the SSLV rocket, he added. 

“But for that problem, we couldn’t see any other anomalies,” he added. “Every other new element that has been incorporated in this rocket performed very well.”

(1/2) SSLV-D1/EOS-02 Mission update: 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 actionAugust 7, 2022

See more

The main payload on Saturday’s test mission was EOS-02, a 300-pound (135 kilograms) experimental Earth-observation satellite. “This microsat series satellite offers advanced optical remote sensing operating in infrared band with high spatial resolution,” ISRO officials wrote in a description of Saturday’s mission (opens in new tab).

The second satellite that went up Saturday was an 18-pound (8 kg) cubesat called AzaadiSAT. This little spacecraft was loaded with 75 different payloads, which were built by female students across India to perform a variety of “femto-experiments.” 

“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 ionizing radiation in its orbit, a long-range transponder and a selfie camera,” ISRO officials wrote in the mission description.

SSLV-D1/EOS-02 Mission: Maiden flight of SSLV is completed. All stages performed as expected. Data loss is observed during the terminal stage. It is being analysed. Will be updated soon.August 7, 2022

See more

As its name indicates, the SSLV is designed to launch relatively small satellites; the rocket can loft up to 1,100 pounds (500 kg) to low Earth orbit (LEO), according to ISRO officials.

When the SSLV comes fully online, India will have three rockets in its current fleet. The two others are the 144-foot-tall (44 m) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which can haul up to 3,860 pounds (1,750 kg) to a sun-synchronous polar orbit, and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which can take 11,000 pounds (5,000 kg) to LEO or 5,500 pounds (2,500 kg) to the much higher geostationary transfer orbit.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT) with new details of the launch failure from ISRO and its Chairman S. Somanath.

Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).  

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Mike Wall

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, “Out There,” was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

Read More

Latest news

These New Photos of Lindsay Lohan’s Christmas Movie Are So Fetch

Lindsay Lohan's "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" -- Look Back!Lindsay Lohan has us circling our calendars for one...

Emily Ratajkowski Slams Blonde for “Fetishizing Female Pain”

Emily Ratajkowski & Husband Sebastian Bear-McClard SPLITEmily Ratajkowski is sounding off about Netflix's new film, Blonde.  While admitting she hasn't...

Joshua Jackson Details His Biggest Lesson About Fatherhood

Joshua Jackson exclusively told E! News what he has learned since becoming a dad to his two-year-old "boss lady"...

Kesha’s Mom Addresses That Jeffery Dahmer “Cannibal” Lyric

Kesha Addresses That GHOST SEX RumorPebe Sebert is setting the record straight on Kesha's lyrics. After the "Take It Off"...
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_imgspot_imgspot_img
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_imgspot_imgspot_img

“Saddened” Try Guys Break Down Timeline of Ned Fulmer Cheating Scandal

Ned Fulmer Leaves The Try Guys After "Workplace Relationship"The Try Guys are trying to move on without Ned Fulmer. On...

Girlfriend of Late Football Star Spencer Webb Shares Sex of Their Baby

Nearly three months after Spencer Webb's death, his pregnant girlfriend Kelly Kay sent the athlete a message about their...

Must read

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_imgspot_img

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you