The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has made improvements to the pyro devices on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) whose last mission in August was doomed due to the problems with the separation of the heat shield encasing the satellite. The next mission using the rocket – the PSLV C-40, which will have a Cartosat 2 series satellite as its chief payload – is slated to lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, in the second half of December, K Sivan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thumba here, said.
‘’We have not changed the basic design of the pyro devices. It’s the same, but we have made some design improvements to add more robustness to the system,’’ he said. Sivan said the enhancements will soon undergo tests at the VSSC – the nodal agency for ISRO’s launch vehicles – and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiamala.
As the name suggests, the pyro elements on a launch vehicle employ charges to separate the payload fairing and release the satellite into orbit. On the PSLV C-39 mission, the mechanism malfunctioned, leaving the IRNSS 1H satellite stuck inside the heat shield.
The integration of the PSLV C-40 will begin at Sriharikota in the last week of November. The first stage has already arrived at the spaceport.“Actually, the failure came as a surprise to us. We never expected it as the pyro design which we use is basically a good one,’’ Sivan said. Following August’s failed mission, the ISRO had set up a failure review committee to ascertain the causes.Sivan said the C-39 failure has not had any impact on the PSLV’s commercial prospects .