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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) suffered a setback while trying to put the GISAT-1 earth observation satellite into orbit, due to a technical anomaly minutes after the rocket carrying the satellite was launched in the early hours on Wednesday.
“Performance of first and second stages was normal. However, Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen due to technical anomaly. The mission couldn’t be accomplished as intended,” the Indian Space Research Organisation said in a statement.
The satellite, meant for quick monitoring of natural disasters such as cyclones, cloudbursts, and thunderstorms, was launched on a geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) at 0013 GMT (5:43am IST), from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
This was going to be only the second launch of the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency in the COVID-19-hit 2021. ISRO successfully launched PSLV-C51 mission on February 28 with Brazil’s earth observation satellite Amazonia-1 and 18 co-passengers, including some built by students, on board.
The 2,268-kg GISAT-1 was originally slated to be launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district, about 100 kms north of Chennai, on March 5 last year but was postponed a day before the blast-off due to technical reasons.
Thereafter the launch was delayed due to COVID-19-induced lockdown which affected normal work. It was scheduled for March 28 this year but a “minor issue” with the satellite forced its postponement. The launch was later expected in April and then in May but the campaign could not be taken up due to lockdown in parts of the country triggered by the second wave of the pandemic.
According to ISRO, GISAT-1 will facilitate near real-time observation of the Indian sub-continent, under cloud-free conditions, at frequent intervals.
GISAT-1 will be placed in a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit by GSLV-F10 and, subsequently, it will be positioned in the final geostationary orbit, about 36,000 km above earth’s equator, using its onboard propulsion system.
The earth observation satellite will provide the country with real-time images of its borders and also enable quick monitoring of natural disasters. Experts said positioning the state-of-the-art agile earth observation satellite in geostationary orbit has key advantages.