The launch of India’s eighth regional navigation satellite IRNSS-1H as part of the NavIC (Navigation in Indian Constellation) project was declared failed.The C39 launch vehicle had a problem, heat shield has not separated. As a result of that the satellite remains inside the heat shield. But for the failed heat shield separation, the remaining activities had gone on smoothly.
The heat shield is a protective cover around the satellite to help in adverse temperatures. Normally the heat shield is separated soon after the rocket crosses the earth's atmosphere. Heat shield is separated after on-board computers give the command to ignite the explosives. The explosives then ignite and explode to separate the two parts of the heat shield joined by bolts.
IRNSS-1H was being sent to space to replace the functions of India's first navigation satellite IRNSS-1A which was launched in 2013. All three Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard (RAFS) clocks on the IRNSS-1A had malfunctioned due to probable short circuiting. Due to the IRNSS-1A failure, modified versions of the original atomic clocks are being used by new satellites to overcome the technical issues.The IRNSS-1H launch was expected to set NavIC, India’s version of the American GPS, which would give India exclusive navigational access of the country, and to 1500 kms of its borders.
Between 2013 and 2016, ISRO put up seven IRNSS satellites to form the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, since called NavIC or Navigation with Indian Constellation. The NavIC system was created, so that Indian dependence on the American-based GPS could be eliminated.
It was designed mainly to provide Restricted Encrypted Service for authorised users like the defence forces.But it also provides services to general users in India. ISRO will also sell its capabilities to service providers like mobile phone operators, vehicle manufacturers etc.ISRO started work on the IRNSS programme in 1999 after the Kargil War, where Indian defence forces could not use American GPS in the conflict zone to locate its soldiers.
Source: The Hindu, Business Standard