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PSLV – C39 Mission failure

PSLV-C39 has been declared a failed mission by ISRO as the heat shield failed to separate as intended. It is considered to be a rare failure as PSLV series had performed really well since 24 years of its operations.

This was the forty first flight of PSLV series and its mission was to deploy IRNSS-1H navigation satellite to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) at a perigee of 284km and apogee of 20,650km with an inclination of 19.2 degree with respect to the equatorial plane.

IRNSS-1H (Source: ISRO)

The mission was supposed to inject the satellite into GTO post which, the two solar panels of the satellite would automatically deploy. The Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan was tasked to take control after the deployment of solar panel, command the satellite to perform orbit raising manoeuvres using the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) to place it in an inclines geosynchronous orbit.

Everything went on as scheduled until 3 minutes after lift-off, when the heat shield was supposed to separate. Initial analysis indicate that the pyro mechanism that was designed to explosively separate the heat shield failed thereby trapping the satellite inside. The heat shield with the trapped satellite is expected to re-enter and burn up in the atmosphere within 2 months.

ISRO told the press that it is doing a root cause analysis to identify the actual cause of the anomaly.

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