ISRO loses contact with GSAT-6A satellite

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on April 01, 2018 Published on April 01, 2018

ISRO’s GSLV-F08 carrying GSAT-6A communication satellite blasts off into orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota on Thursday.   -  PTI

Setback after perfect launch

The Indian Space Research Organisation today lost contact with the GSAT-6A satellite. Control room at the SHAR space port in Sriharikota is making concerted attempts to re establish the link with the satellite. 

In a communique on its website, the ISRO said after successful long duration firings, when the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and final firing, scheduled for April 1, communication from the satellite was lost.

The second orbit raising operation was successfully carried out by LAM Engine firing for about 53 minutes on March 31 morning. “Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite,” the space agency said. 

It will be a major setback for the ambitious, heavy payload launch capability using the indigenous GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) into the GTO (Geostationary Transfer Orbit). ISRO has been struggling with mixed success in the launch trials so far.

The 3-stage GSLV Mk ll rocket flying the GSLV FO8 mission successfully injected the GSAT -6A on March 29. The satellite is to support the GSAT 6 launched in August 2015 and improve communication systems.

The new GSLV is powered by the indigenous Vikas engine, which gives higher thrust and about 50 per cent increased payload. The present capacity is 2.5 tonnes. In addition to boosting mobile communication, the satellite is intended to serve the communication needs of the Indian Armed forces.

PTI reports

The ISRO had successfully put into orbit its latest communication satellite GSAT-6A after a perfect launch of its powerful geosynchronous rocket (GSLV-F08), from its spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The satellite would help in mobile communication even from very remote locations through hand-held ground terminals.

The space agency’s unusual silence regarding the satellite had lead to speculation about the health of the spacecraft. The ISRO, which normally communicates on its website about the orbit raising operations, like it did on March 30, following the success of the first orbit raising operation, had not released any update since then.

The 2140-kg communication satellite GSAT-6A is aimed at helping in mobile communication even from very remote locations through hand-held ground terminals. With a mission life of about 10 years, GSAT-6A is aimed at providing a thrust to mobile communication through multi-beam coverage facility.It is expected to be a shot in the arm for the armed forces.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan had said post the launch that GSAT-6A was a complement to GSAT6, which was already in orbit, and these two satellites combined will provide a platform for development of advanced technologies,. This is the first mission for Sivan, who assumed charge of the space agency in January.

In August last year, India’s mission to launch its backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H on board PSLV-C39 ended in a failure after a technical fault on the final leg following a perfect launch. The ISRO then said the heat shield did not separate on the final leg of the launch sequence and, as a result, IRNSS-1H got stuck in the fourth stage of the rocket.

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Published on April 01, 2018
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