India’s heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11 to orbit in space on Dec 5

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Chennai: India’s heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11 will be put into orbit by the Ariane-5 rocket of Arianespace from French Guiana on December 5, the Indian space agency said.

According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), GSAT-11 weighing 5,854 kg is the heaviest satellite built by it.

The satellite will be initially placed in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and will subsequently be raised to geostationary orbit.

According to ISRO, GSAT-11 is the forerunner in a series of advanced communications satellites. It has multi-spot beam antenna coverage over Indian mainland and islands.

The satellite, with a mission life of 15 years will have 32 user beams (Ku band) and eight hub beams (Ka band) and the throughput data rate of 16 Gbps.

GSAT-11 will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications.

The GSAT-11 will be used to meet the increased data demands with high data rates over regions using spot beams. The satellite will support BharathNet connecting gram panchayat for e-governance and digital platform, the ISRO said.

In April 2018, ISRO had recalled GSAT-11 from Arianespace’s rocket port for further tests, to be on safe side.

“We are bringing back the GSAT-11 satellite to carry out some tests on its performance orbiting in the space. There is nothing more to it,” K Sivan, Chairman ISRO had said at that time.

The GSAT-11 was planned to be launched mid-May. The satellite had reached Arianespace’s rocket port in March 2018.

The ISRO’s move to call back GSAT-11 for further tests and be doubly sure of its performance may be due to the loss of the recently launched GSAT-6A satellite, soon after it was put into orbit on March 29.

ISRO suspected the failure of the power system in the satellite for the loss of communication link.

According to experts, the power system could have failed due to some short-circuiting or arcing resulting in what is known in the space terminology ‘loss of lock’ or loss of contact with the ground station.

Satellites in space are locked to ground stations for tracking and other purposes.

On March 29, Indian rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) slung GSAT-6A in its intended orbit. From there the satellite was to be taken up further to its orbital slot by firing its onboard motors.

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