Bengaluru: The heaviest, largest and most-advanced satellite ever built by India has been sent to space early Wednesday morning.
GSAT-11, the high throughput communication satellite from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana at 2:07 am (IST) Wednesday.
The text-book launch saw GSAT-11 separating from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, 30 minutes after lift-off.
ISRO said the achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. In the last 21 days, ISRO had successfully completed three satellite and two launch vehicle missions.
As reported by Onmanorama earlier, the 5854-kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.
MCF takes control
Post-separation, ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-11 and found its health parameters normal.
The scientists will now undertake phase-wise orbit-raising manoeuvres to place the satellite in the Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) using its on-board propulsion systems. GSAT-11 will be positioned at 74-degree east longitude in the geostationary orbit.
Subsequently, the two solar arrays and four antenna reflectors of GSAT-11 will be deployed in orbit. The satellite will be operational after the successful completion of all in-orbit tests.
Boost to connectivity: Dr Sivan
“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.
The Bharat Net Project aims to enhance the public welfare schemes like e-banking, e-health, e-governance among others.
He said 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,” Dr Sivan added.
He said GSAT-11 was the 100th satellite built by ISRO and termed it as the most powerful one for India.
“This will be the richest space asset for India and designed in an innovative way. The credit goes to the entire Team ISRO and it is a gift to India. The spacecraft will be operational in 10 days after we complete orbit-raising manoeuvres. Thanking Arianespace for all the support even after we missed the launch target of May this year, we could come back and make this successful launch,” Dr Sivan said.
“GSAT-11 is the 22nd satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace, and the largest and heaviest satellite ever built by India’s space agency. Arianespace has two other ISRO satellites in its order book to launch: GSAT-30 and GSAT-31. The latter, GSAT-31, will be lifted by Arianespace early next year,” an Arianespace statement said.
R Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO said with the successful GSAT-11 launch, the future looks brighter for India’s satellite missions.
“Certainly a proud moment for all of us and GSAT-11 will inspire our future missions,” Umamaheswaran said.
Wednesday’s successful launch is a feather in the cap for ISRO’s quality team which felt the need to recall the GSAT-11 from the launch pad early this year to iron out any possible 'glitches.'
Arianespace said ISRO is a key partner since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981. Since then Arianespace has signed 24 launch contracts with ISRO.
“I want to express my deepest gratitude to two very special partners since the beginning of their space ambitions - ISRO and KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute),” Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said.
Arianespace has two other ISRO satellites (GSAT-30 and GSAT-31) in its order book.