In a series of unfortunate events, India’s eighth navigation satellite imploded shortly after liftoff on Thursday, state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
The IRNSS-1H satellite was expected to join seven others in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to take the country a step further by developing its own global positioning system.
“Satellite got separated internally but it imploded within the heat shield, in the fourth stage itself,” ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told reporters in a televised news conference. The heat shield is meant to protect the satellite from the heat generated by the friction against atmosphere during take-off. Once a satellite is placed into orbit, it is expected to separate and fall off.
The IRNSS-1H satellite had been released from the Sriharikota Space Centre in southern India. IRNSS was supposed to navigate the country’s aerial and marine routes, as well as aid disaster management and vehicle tracking up to 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) around the mainland.
However, India lags behind the United States’ GPS, Russia’s GLONASS, Europe’s Galileo and China’s Beidou systems that have dozens of satellites to provide information across the globe.