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What Ex-Chief Said " on ISRO Rocket Data loss


Scientists and engineers at the Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, are analyzing whether its smallest rocket, SSLV-D1 - which experienced data loss in the final phase - was able to inject the two satellites onboard into a stable orbit. The preliminary finding on the status of the mission should be available in "few hours", Dr Madhavan Nair, ex-ISRO chief, told NDTV, calling the mission a complex.

"Thousands of pages of data will be pouring in. Several specialists will have to go through these data. Apparently, everything went well up to the third stage. There is some deviation in the path in the final phase of the launch and that could be one reason or otherwise, there could be some anomaly during separation," he said.

The detailed finding will be available by a week, he said.

"We have to really look for the next orbital cycle and see if other ground stations are able to capture. Then we will be able to reach a conclusion. It will take a few hours before we can get a preliminary finding, but a detailed finding will take a few days or a week," Dr Madhavan Nair, who retired as ISRO chairman in 2009, said.

Asked whether the satellites can give details on their status or their health, Dr Madhavan Nair said, "All the launches of this kind are pre-programmed and is taken over by the computer. The first two stages go as per a predetermined trajectory, but in the final phase, to achieve a precise orbit, certain manoeuvres will have to be made. There one has to determine the actual position, velocity of the rocket and steer the rocket to achieve the final desired object. So, any fault taking place in the sensors or in the computers could lead to such a situation. So, unless those data are studied in detail, we cannot pinpoint the reason".

"Once the rocket has reached a particular altitude, the spacecraft separation command is given. Since this is well above the atmosphere, the separation would have been clean. But if the orbit is not correct, then the ground station will not be able to catch the signals," he added.

Dr Madhavan Nair also said ISRO coming out with a rocket in a short span was a remarkable achievement for the space agency. "This is a small rocket launcher conceived and implemented within a short possible time. The cost optimisation, the weight optimisation, and getting it into commercial market - all these aspects were considered within such a short time. This is a remarkable achievement. All the rockets have performed as desired also," he said.

The SSLV is carrying Earth Observation Satellite -02 and a co-passenger satellite AzaadiSAT -- developed by the student team of 'Space Kidz India', an aerospace organisation that aims to create government school students with basic understanding and knowledge of space.

The "AzaadiSAT" comprises 75 payloads built by 750 school students to mark the 75th Anniversary of Independence. The girl students who designed the satellite also witnessed the SSLV-D1 launch at the spaceport in Sriharikota.

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