The two nano satellites of ISRO that had caused problems since being launched on February 15 on a PSLV workhorse rocket have stabilised, the space agency informed on Wednesday. The INS 1A and INS 1B, experimental nano satellites built by ISRO, were among the 104 satellites launched by ISRO’s PSLV C37 rocket. All the other satellites — among them ISRO’s Cartosat 2D and 88 nano satellites belonging to the US start-up Planet Labs —were reported to be stable, ISRO had reported trouble with stabilising the nano satellites.
“After initial hiccups, things have settled and the satellites are under our control,’’ the director of ISRO’s satellite centre, Mylaswamy Annadurai, said. “Unlike large satellites, where we are able to provide more control system like thrusters, in a nano satellite the control facility is limited as availability of power is limited. Nano satellites are an experimental programme in ISRO,’’ Annadurai said.
The nano satellites, weighing 8.4 kg and 9.7 kg, were reported to be displaying uneven parameters after launch. Sources in the space agency reported “some difficulties in signals’’ between the two satellites and ground stations. ISRO put out images taken from the Cartosat 2D satellite on its website a couple days after the launch but did not reveal the status of INS 1A and INS 1B.
The nano satellites are carrying instruments from ISRO’s Space Application Centre and the Laboratory for Electro Optic Systems. Data gathered will be used by the two agencies. “The nano satellites 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 nano satellite bus,’’ an ISRO official said.
In a record-breaking launch on February 15, PSLV C 37 had carried 88 nano satellites from Planet Labs, eight satellites from another US mapping start-up called Spire, one each from the Netherlands, Israel, the UAE, Kazakhstan and Switzerland, apart from ISRO’S two nano satellites and the Cartosat 2 series satellite.