January 31, 2023

This Week in Amateur Radio

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India’s New SSLV Rocket With Amateur Payload Lifts Off, Apparent Anomaly During Deployment

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) embarked on its maiden small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) mission, carrying earth observation satellite EOS-02 and co-passenger students satellite AzaadiSAT

This is a developing story, we’ll post more info as it is updated.

Update 8/8/22: According to Space.com ISRO officials report that the first 3 stages (using solid rocket fuel) performed as expected, but the fourth stage (using liquid fuel) failed to place the satellites into a circular orbit and instead left the payload in an elliptical 221mi x 47mi orbit, rendering them “useless” and deorbiting shortly afterward. The last stage failure was due to a sensor issue that was not detected in time to perform a reactive “salvage action” that might have saved the mission.

Read more at Space.com.


Previous updates: ISRO Chairman S Somanath on Sunday informed the space agency’s maiden Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) suffered “data loss” at the terminal stage, although three stages “performed and separated,” and said the space agency was analysing the data to ascertain the status of the vehicle and the satellites.

“SSLV-D1 performed as expected at all stages. In the terminal phase of the mission, some data loss is occurring. We are analysing the data to conclude the final outcome of the mission with respect to achieving a stable orbit,” said ISRO chairman S. Somanath.

SSLV-D1 Launch replay

“We are analysing the data and will come back on the the status of the satellites as well as the vehicle performance soon,” ISRO chief further said.

At the end of a seven and a half hour countdown, the 34 metre long SSLV soared majestically at 9.18 am amid cloudy skies to place the satellites into the intended orbit. The EOS-02 is an experimental optical remote sensing satellite with a high spatial resolution. It is to realise and fly an experimental imaging satellite with a short-turnaround time and to demonstrate launch-on-demand capability. EOS-02 belongs to the microsatellite series of space crafts. The AzaadiSAT is a 8U Cubesat weighing around 8kgs. 

It carries 75 different payloads each weighing around 50grams. Girl students from rural regions across the country were provided guidance to build these payloads. The payloads are integrated by the student team of ‘Space Kidz India’. The ground system developed by ‘Space Kidz India’ will be utilised for receiving the data from this satellite, ISRO said.

via Livemint: https://bit.ly/3zw7vFy


From Space.com:

India’s new rocket launched for the first time on Saturday night (Aug. 6), and it’s still too early to tell whether or not it earned its wings.

The 112-foot-tall (34 meters) Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on India’s southeastern coast on Saturday at 11:48 p.m. EDT (0348 GMT and 9:18 a.m. India Standard Time on Sunday, Aug. 7) with two satellites onboard.

The rocket’s three solid-fueled stages performed well, but its fourth and final stage, a liquid-fueled “velocity trimming module” (VTM), apparently hit a snag.

“SSLV-D1/EOS-02 Mission: Maiden flight of SSLV is completed. All stages performed as expected. Data loss is observed during the terminal stage. It is being analysed. Will be updated soon,” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said via Twitter not long after liftoff. (This tweet suggests that ISRO does not consider the VTM, which is akin to the “kick stage” that Rocket Lab uses with its Electron booster, a full-fledged stage.) 

Read more – Space.com: https://www.space.com/india-sslv-rocket-first-launch