The launch of the Indo-French Saral navigational satellite has been delayed until early next year, an Indian space scientist says.

The satellite was initially slated to be lofted on Dec. 12 on board the Indian space agency’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C20) – from the space center in Sriharikota in south India.

The mission has been postponed in view of “some technical issues” that cropped up during the program, the scientist at the Bengaluru-based Indian Space Research Organization says. “Hence, additional tests are being carried out to improve reliability of the spacecraft,” he says.

Although the exact date for the new launch has not yet been set, it will “likely happen in January or February,” he says.

The Saral spacecraft will carry two sensor payloads built by French space agency CNES to study ocean parameters and conditions.

Saral will provide useful information for marine meteorology and sea-state forecasting, operational oceanography, seasonal forecasting and climate monitoring, as well as ocean, Earth system and climate research.