CHENNAI: After a nine-month hiatus, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will soon be taking to the skies. Two PSLV rocket launches are planned in November and work is in full swing at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-Shar) in Sriharikota.
The last mission executed from Indian soil was the PSLV-C48 carrying the 'spy' satellite RISAT-2BR1 on December 11, 2019. Although the GSLV-F10 launch was planned on March 5, the mission had to be postponed due to technical reasons. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has crippled ISRO operations.
The spaceport Sriharikota was especially hit by over 150 cases of COVID-19 forcing it to go on temporary shutdown. But now operations at Shar are slowly being restored.
As per the latest working modalities issued by new Shar controller M Srinivasulu Reddy, a copy of which is available with The New Indian Express, ISRO was planning to launch PSLV-C49 and PSLV-C50.
"All employees in the scientific and technical category and all officers in the administrative category shall attend duties on all working days. All other SDSC Shar employees upto 50% shall attend office and divisional heads shall prepare a roster so as to ensure 50% of assigned staff attend office. However, in exigencies of services and also to meet critical and time bound programmatic needs, the heads may engage more than 50% of staff, as per requirement," the circular reads.
Employees are directed to inform the office if they or any family members are undergoing COVID-19 tests and shall self-isolate till a conclusive result is obtained. "Suppression of information by any employee will be viewed seriously and action will be initiated as per extant rules," the circular said.