After months of wait, the country’s heaviest satellite Gsat-11 weighing 5,854 kg was finally launched from the European spaceport in French Guiana at 2.07 am on Wednesday. Arianespace’s Ariane-5 rocket successfully lifted off with communication satellite Gsat-11 and South Korean geo satellite Geo-Kompsat-2A.
Twenty nine minutes after the lift off, Gsat-11 separated from the rocket and was placed in the geo-transfer orbit. The Korean satellite was released four minutes after Gsat-11 separation. Arianespace kept the time gap of around four minutes in separation of two satellites from the rocket in order to avoid a collision between the two in space.
Gsat-11 is a high-throughput satellite that carries 40 transponders in the Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies and is capable of “providing high bandwidth connectivity” with up to 14 gigabit per second (GBPS) data transfer speed. The satellite’s designed lifetime is more than 15 years. Soon after the successful launch, Arianespace chief executive Stephane Israel congratulated ISRO chairman K Sivan and P Kunhikrishnan, director of Bengaluru-based UR Rao Satellite Centre, who were present at the Arianespace control room to witness the launch. He said the "cooperation with the Indian space agency went back to 1991 and today's launch has boosted that relationship".
Thanking Arianespace for the launch, ISRO chairman Sivan said, "Six days after the successful launch (on November 29) of India's first hyperpectral imaging satellite HysIS, today's launch of the country's heaviest satellite Gsat-11 is a major milestone for the country. This satellite has been designed in most innovative ways by ISRO centres and the credit for its success goes to Team ISRO." He said that "Gsat-11 is the third in a series of four highthroughput satellites (Gsat-19, Gsat-29, Gsat-11 and Gsat-20) that will provide the country broadband connectivity of over 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) and will link rural areas and bridge the digital divide under the Digital India programme."
While Gsat-19 was launched in June last year, Gsat-29 was launched on November 14 this year. The chairman said, "The master control centre of ISRO (at Hassan in Karnataka) has taken control of Gsat-11. In the coming five days, the satellite will be manoeuvred to its final geo-stationary orbit. Thereafter for the next 10 days, the payloads will be tested." He also congratulated South Korea for the successful launch of Gsat-11's co-passenger Geo-Kompsat-2A.
Sivan also recalled that Gsat-11 was earlier scheduled for the launch on May 25 from French Guiana but due to certain circumstances the launch had to be delayed. The communication satellite, which will help increase internet speed in the country, was earlier recalled from French Guiana by ISRO as the agency suspected an anomaly in the satellite. ISRO felt the need to take the unusual step of recalling the satellite as a precaution measure especially after the failure of the Gsat-6A mission around the same time. Gsat-6A satellite went out of control and signal from it was lost soon after its launch on March 29.
Gsat-11 is meant to provide multi-spot beam coverage over India’s mainland and nearby islands. The satellite is special as it uses multiple spot beams (a special kind of transponder that operates on a high frequency) that will increase internet speed and connectivity. A spot beam is a satellite signal that is specially concentrated in power so that it covers only a limited geographical area on the earth. The narrower the beam more is the power. The satellite will reuse “beams” (signals) several times in order to cover the entire country. In contrast, a traditional satellite like INSAT satellite uses a broad single beam, which is not powerful, to cover wide regions. The heavy-duty satellite is so massive that each solar panel is over four metres long, equivalent to the size of a big sedan. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new-generation applications.
By Surendra Singh IndiaTimes