India's mission to place a navigation satellite into space failed after the spacecraft carrying it suffered a technical fault on the final leg after a perfect launch. The setback was all the more significant because the private sector was involved in the assembly of the spacecraft for the first time in the country's space programme. Describing the failed mission as a “mishap“, ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar said the heat shield did not separate on the final leg of the launch sequence.
As a result, the IRNSS-1H, a backup navigation satellite, got stuck in the fourth stage of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-PSLV-C39.
The eighth satellite was a back-up navigation satellite for IRNSS-1A, one of the seven satellites in the constellation, as its three rubidium atomic clocks on board had stopped functioning.
For the first time, the private sector has been actively involved in assembling and testing of a satellite unlike earlier where its role was limited to supplying components. Today's setback is considered a rare failure in India's space mission involving the PSLV, dubbed as ISRO's workhorse.