ISRO’s Heaviest Satellite Launched, GSat-10 Placed In Orbit
By Srinivas Laxman | Top News
October 1, 2012
At 2:48 a.m. (IST) on Saturday, India’s 50-year-old space program rocketed into history when it launched its heaviest communication satellite, the 3,400 kg GSat-10.
AsianScientist (Oct. 1, 2012) – At 2:48 a.m. (IST) on Saturday, India’s 50-year-old space program rocketed into history when it launched its heaviest communication satellite, the 3,400 kg GSat-10.
After a smooth countdown lasting for 11 hours and 30 minutes, Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Kourou in French Guiana on schedule in the opening of the launch window.
About 60 seconds into the flight, ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka acquired the satellite’s signal. ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan who was present at the MCF said that by November 2012, the satellite will be operational and available to the user community.
Thirty minutes and 45 seconds into the mission, the Gsat-10 was injected into an elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit very close to the intended orbit. Its perigee was 250 km (the point closest to earth) and the apogee was 36,000 km (the point furthest from earth).
From here the satellite would be boosted into the geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the equator by using its propulsion system in a three-step approach.
After this, the solar panels and antennas would be deployed. In the coming days, the payloads would be activated to perform a series of extensive in-orbit tests.
The satellite was flown along with Astra-2F which will provide direct-to-home broadcast services for a Luxembourg-based operator.
The rocket carrying both the communication satellites lifted off just prior to sunset in Kourou providing a clear view of Ariane 5’s initial trajectory as it cleared a low cloud deck and continued its ascent enabling a tracking camera to view the solid propellant booster separation as well as the payload fairing jettison at nearly 110 km above French Guiana.
It was Arianespace’s 51st successful launch in a row, and the 15th Indian satellite to be flown since June 1981. Chairman and CEO of Arianespace Jean-Yves Le Gall said that ISRO has been a loyal customer since the collaboration began nearly 30 years ago.
With a 15-year operational life, Gsat-10, with a Rs. 750 crore price tag, has a total of 30 communication transponders in normal C-band, lower extended C-band and Ku-band as well as the Gagan payload for providing navigation services. This is the second satellite in the Insat/Gsat constellation with a Gagan payload after Gsat-8 launch in May 2011.
Gsat-10 will also help in direct-to-home TV broadcasts as part of the Indian National Satellite System in the Asia-Pacific region.
ISRO Satellite Center director S. K. Shivakumar, who was in Kourou, has been quoted as saying that Gsat-10 would provide an impetus to the communication revolution in India.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
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