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Aerospace: Indian rocket has first missed over 20 years

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 | Gadgets

The launch of a satellite for the Indian satellite navigation system IRNSS failed. It should be the eighth satellite for the constellation, which, like the Galileo navigation system, suffers from problems with the atomic clocks of a Swiss company. It is one of the satellites that have been kept in reserve as a substitute on the ground.

It was the 42nd launch of the Indian PSLV rocket, which was so far extremely reliable. At the start, the payload of the satellite did not detach, which protects him during the start before the aerodynamic forces and heat of the air friction. The panel is thrown off during the flight to reduce the weight of the upper rocket stages.
Because of the additional weight, the fourth stage of the rocket reached only one orbit with an altitude of about 7,000 kilometers instead of over 20,000 kilometers. Even if it is possible to release the payload panel from the ground, the fuel reserves of the satellite are not enough to reach the planned orbit.
The rocket is to be privatized
The Indian PSLV rocket is also a very reliable rocket and an important part of the Indian space program. Only the maiden flight in 1993 led to a loss of a payload due to a failure of the second stage. A problem with the drive of the fourth stage led to a somewhat too low orbit in 1997, which the satellite could however compensate, which was subsequently successfully operated. 38 starts as planned. In addition to space probes to the moon and to Mars, the rocket also launched a large number of international payloads, including more than ten from Germany.

In the meantime, the Indian Space Agency has developed much more powerful models with the GSLV missiles, but they have not yet achieved the same reliability as the PSLV. In 2016 it was announced that the launches with the rocket should be privatized by 2020.

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