India’s space agency could delay building other satellites, including Chandrayaan-2, a return mission to the moon following the setback of GSAT-6A, the communication satellite it lost contact on Sunday three days after its launch.
Isro lost contact with the satellite when it attempted to ignite its engine in a final move to its designated slot.
The satellite was launched on March 29. “If we don’t succeed to re-establish contact with the satellite, the mission is declared dead. An inquiry will attempt to find the root cause of the snag. Also, there will be much more stringent quality checks now so that similar incidents doesn’t repeat,” an Isro scientist said. “This means there will be a delay in building other satellites.”
Isro has lined up over 10 launches including GSAT-7A, remote sensing satellites Cartosat-3, Oceansat-3 and Chandrayaan-2, the moon mission with the space agency planning to land a rover on the earth’s satellite.
For Isro, this will be the second setback in seven months after a replacement satellite for Navic, the country’s navigation system failed in August to eject from the heat shield in space due to a snag.
An investigation found that a controlled explosive failed to detonate and break the latch that locked the satellite in the heat shield – the conical top portion of the rocket, and release the satellite into space.