By Elton Gomes
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heaviest and most advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 (Geosynchronous Satellite) was successfully launched from the French Guiana in South America early on December 5, ISRO said in statement.
The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-246 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana, at 02:07 am (IST) carrying India’s GSAT-11 and South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A satellites, as scheduled. Ariane 5 is one of three launch vehicles that is operated by Arianespace along with Soyuz and Vega.
After a 30 minute flight, GSAT-11 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one, ISRO said in its statement.
After separation, ISRO’s Master Control Facility in Hassan, Karnataka, took control of GSAT-11, and confirmed that its health parameters were normal.
“GSAT-11 is the next generation high throughput communication satellite that will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications,” ISRO chief, Dr. K. Sivan, said, as per an NDTV report.
Features of GSAT-11
The GSAT-11 is the next-generation high throughput communication satellite. It is by far the heaviest satellite built by ISRO. The satellite is at the forefront of advanced communications satellites, with multi-spot beams covering Indian mainland and islands. Through the GSAT-11, India will see the use of Ka-band for the first time.
Ka-band is a portion of the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum with frequencies in the range of 26.5–40 GHz, or with wavelengths from slightly over one centimetre to 7.5 millimetres.
The GSAT-11 weighs 5,854 kg, and will provide super fast connectivity to users through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band. GSAT-11 will be positioned at 74 degree east longitude in the geostationary orbit.
How will GSAT-11 help India?
“GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme,” ISRO Chairman Dr. K Sivan said in a statement.
The Bharat Net Project aims to enhance the public welfare schemes like e-banking, e-health, e-governance, and others.
Sivan added that the GSAT-11 will act as a forerunner to all future high throughput communication satellites. “Today’s successful mission has boosted the confidence of the entire team,” he said.
In addition, high-throughput satellites, such as the GSAT-11, have been touted as game changers in developed countries. Such satellites provide internet connectivity at faster, smoother, and cheaper rates. The satellites will also help take services such as banking, ATMs, reservation systems, and mobile and television networks to the remotest part of the country in a much more efficient and seamless manner.
What is Arianespace?
The ArianeGroup is a joint venture of Airbus and Safran, and was established in 2014. ArianeGroup is the primary contractor for the Ariane program. Arianespace is the commercial operator of the Ariane, Soyuz, and Vega launch systems at French Guiana, and it is responsible for placing its customers’ satellite payloads into orbit.
It markets launch services, acquires the launch vehicles, prepares the missions, and handles all relations with customers.
Since 1981, Arianespace has won nearly all of India’s geostationary orbit launch contracts that were opened to non-Indian launch vehicles. It has signed 24 launch contracts with ISRO.
The GSAT-11 is the 22nd satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace. Two more ISRO satellites will be launched by Arianespace: GSAT-30 and GSAT-31. The GSAT-31 is expected to be launched early next year.
GSAT-11 recalled in May
The GSAT-11’s launch was the second attempt after ISRO’s first attempt failed in May earlier this year. In April, ISRO had recalled GSAT-11 from Arianespace’s rocket port in French Guiana for further tests.
“We are bringing back the GSAT-11 satellite to carry out some tests to be doubly sure of its performance orbiting in the space. There is nothing more to it,” Dr Sivan had then told IANS.
The GSAT-11 was initially supposed to be launched by the middle of May. The satellite had reached Arianespace’s rocket port in March.
Reports suggest that the GSAT-11 was called back due to the loss of contact with the GSAT-6A satellite. After it was put into orbit on March 29, ISRO lost contact with the satellite and suspected that a failure of the power systems was responsible for the loss in communications.
ISRO launches HysIS
Just six day ago, ISRO had successfully launched its rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) carrying India’s earth observation Hyper-spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) and 30 foreign satellites from Sriharikota at 9:57:30 am on November 29.
HysIS’s primary objective is to study the earth’s surface in the visible, near infrared, and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Recent reports stated that HySIS had sent its first image to ISRO. The image covered parts of Lakhpat area in Gujarat, and was acquired at the National Remote Sensing Centre on Sunday, ISRO said.
ISRO sources said the agency was satisfied with the quality of the image sent by HySIS. This image can be used in a number of areas, such as agriculture, soil survey, and environmental monitoring.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.