With less than 12 hours to go for the launch of the IRNSS-1L navigation satellite from Sriharikota, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) won’t be resting easy. Especially given the flak it has been facing of-late. Last month, the Comptroller and Auditor General had tabled a report in Parliament that showed ISRO in poor light.
It reported that although over Rs 1,283 crore had been spent on NavIC, the ambitious swadesi GPS programme, it was yet to be operationalised. Moreover, the satellites already launched under the programme have remained idle for up to 4 years, which is significant because a navigational satellite has a lifespan of 10-12 years. Here’s some trivia about the upcoming launch. The 1,425-kg satellite, part of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, will be carried by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket XL variant, an ISRO official told IANS.
The space agency found itself in the unenviable position of explaining how it managed to lose contact with its latest communication satellite GSAT-6A, two days after its textbook launch. Incidentally, this was the first mission for ISRO Chairman K. Sivan after taking charge of the agency in January.
The IRNSS-1L is meant to be a replacement for IRNSS-1A as its rubidium atomic clocks have failed. These are required to provide accurate positional data. The previous mission to launch a replacement last August – IRNSS-1H-had ended in a failure after a technical fault on the final leg following a perfect launch.