Space

ISRO Says Its Experimental Nanosatellites Have Stabilised in Space

The nanosatellites INS 1A and 1B were launched for gathering data for ISRO’s Space Application Centre and Laboratory for Electro-Optic Systems.

The PSLV C37 about to lift off from launchpad 1, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. Credit: ISRO

The PSLV C37 about to lift off from launchpad 1, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. Credit: ISRO

Two of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) experimental nanosatellites launched by the PSLV C37 rocket, along with a record 104 satellites, on February 15 have stabilised, Indian Express reported.

According Financial Express, ISRO had reported stabilisation problems with its INS 1A and 1B nanosatellites after the launch. The rest of the satellites, including ISRO’s Cartosat 2D and 88 satellites belonging to Planet Labs, a US-based startup, had been reported to be stable.

Indian Express quoted Mylaswamy Annadurai, director of ISRO’s satellite centre, saying there had been limitations with controlling the nanosatellites: “Unlike large satellites, where we are able to provide more control system like thrusters, in a nanosatellite the control facility is limited as availability of power is limited. Nanosatellites are an experimental programme in ISRO.”

He expressed satisfaction that, “After initial hiccups, things have settled and the satellites are under our control.”

ISRO had put out pictures from its Cartosat 2D satellite – but no information had been given out on the two nanosatellites. Some sites monitoring the satellites had indicated that despite spending 10 days in space, the two had not stabilised.

“The nanosatellites are an experimental class of satellites introduced by ISRO because there are requests from academic institutions to use them for data collection. The universities do not have the knowledge to build satellites and tend to take a long time. … We want them to focus on the instruments as we can provide the nanosatellite bus,” an ISRO official said.

INS 1A and 1B were launched for gathering data for ISRO’s Space Application Centre and Laboratory for Electro-Optic Systems. They weighed 8.4 and 9.7 kg, respectively, and had “some difficulties with signals” between them and the Earth stations, after their launch, according to the space agency.

On the February 15 launch were also eight satellites from another US mapping company called Spire, and one each from the Netherlands, Israel, the UAE, Kazakhstan and Switzerland.