CHENNAI: Despite suffering a body blow after losing communication link with GSAT-6A for nearly a week now, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided to proceed with its next mission PSLV-C41 carrying navigation satellite IRNSS-1I on April 12. This will be the last in the IRNSS series, also known as Navigation through Indian Constellation (NavIC). IRNSS-1I has been built with the help of private sector and ISRO scientists say the integration process has already been completed and launch will be from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR in Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh).
Confirming the development, ISRO Chairman K Sivan told Express that the ongoing revival of GSAT-6A has nothing to do with future missions and the space agency is geared-up to carry out 10 missions in the next nine months as planned, including Chandrayaan-2. “PSLV-C41, carrying India’s eighth navigation satellite, will be launched on April 12. Losing communication link with GSAT-6A was unfortunate, but our scientists are working round-the-clock to retrieve the satellite and we are still hopeful.
The preliminary analysis shows there is no problem with any of the systems in the satellite and due to some external disturbance, the spacecraft has gone into safe mode. We have a mechanism to re-establish the communication link in such cases and the ISRO is putting its best foot forward. So this will not deter the space agency from going ahead with its future missions,” he asserted.
The ISRO officials said as per the approved plan, India should have seven navigation satellites in orbit in operational mode and two ground spares. Though the space agency has put seven satellites in operation after successfully launching IRNSS-1G on April 26, 2016, the first satellite of the series IRNSS-1A, put into orbit on July 1, 2013, developed trouble with three rubidium atomic clocks onboard not functioning. One of the two ground spares, IRNSS-1H was flown as replacement satellite aboard PSLV-C-39 on August 31, 2017, but the heat shield separation failed and the satellite failed to deploy. IRNSS-1I, to be flown next week, will hold a lot more significance since this will be the last spare satellite.
Sivan said the agency is confident of success of IRNSS-1I, while mentioning that crucial miniaturisation of chipsets that go into the wireless devices such as cell phones and wi-fi receivers is going on at full pace. NavIC is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India. It is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region, extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary. It will provide two types of services, namely Standard Positioning Service, which is provided to all the users, and Restricted Service, which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users. All the satellites of NavIC constellation are configured identically.