BENGALURU: India’s first space launch mission for the year — PSLV-C51 — scheduled for February 28 will not be launching the country’s first private Earth imaging satellite with Bengaluru-based startup Pixxel withdrawing it’s satellite due to technical issues.
“Due to certain software issues that surfaced during the final satellite testing, we have decided not to proceed with our launch. Given the time and effort that has gone into making the satellite, it did not make sense to rush a satellite to launch in which we do not have complete confidence at this time,” Pixxel said in a statement.
The firm said it has decided to push the launch by a few weeks, re-evaluate the satellite software, and test it rigorously as it looks for the next closest launch opportunity.
The PSLV-C51 is the first commercial mission of space PSU New Space India Limited (NSIL), will go ahead with the launch. It’s primary satellite will be Amazonia-1 of Brazil while there will be 19 other co-passenger satellites.
Narayanan G, CMD, NSIL told TOI: “They’ve informed us about the technical difficulties.
We’ll now have 14 other customer satellites and four student satellites.”
Founded by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, Pixxel thanked Isro, IN-SPACe and NSIL for supporting their endeavour.
On whether Pixxel will launch with NSIL again, Narayanan said: “Hopefully…this (Pixxel’s technical glitch) is a very recent development and we’ve not been able to have any discussions as yet. They will be initiated.”
As reported by TOI earlier, Pixxel had earlier tied up with Russia for its launch at the end of 2020, but decided to launch on a PSLV rocket from Isro’s spaceport in Sriharikota.
Registered in Bengaluru the firm, in August 2020 raised $5m, which it plans to use to put in space 24 small satellites. Ahmed had told TOI earlier that opportunities are aplenty and that start-ups have it in them to make the best of what’s ahead.