Bangalore, Nov 22: ISRO may be adept at putting satellites into precise orbit but now appears set to fall flat on its publicly-pronounced date to launch Indo-French spacecraft “SARAL” on 12-12-12.
ISRO sources confirmed today that with technical issues cropping up and additional tests proposed to improve reliability, the blast-off on December 12 (12-12-12) is ruled out.
ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) top-brass are slated to undertake on November 27 mission readiness review vis-a-vis the launch. “The launch is now likely in January-February”, an official of the Bangalore-headquartered space agency said.
In September, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said SARAL would be launched onboard PSLV-C20 from the spaceport of Sriharikota on December 12.
“PSLV-C20 will be assembled in about 25 days in Sriharikota and the satellite will be launched on December 12, 2012. As somebody said it's 12-12-12 (launch date),” he said on September 12 at the Bangalore Space Expo 2012 here.
Along with SARAL, ISRO was also slated to launch four foreign micro-satellites on board PSLV-C20.
ISRO officials said SARAL is a small satellite mission with payloads—Argos and Altika—from French space agency CNES for study of ocean parameters towards enhancing the understanding of the ocean state conditions which are otherwise not covered by the in-situ measurements.
The satellite has been built by ISRO, which would also take care of the launch services.
SARAL will provide data products to operational and research user communities, in support of marine meteorology and sea state forecasting; operational oceanography; seasonal forecasting; climate monitoring; ocean, earth system and climate research, the officials said.