An Arianespace rocket has on Wednesday successfully launched India’s largest communications satellite, GSAT-31, from the spaceport in French Guiana.
According to TOI news reports, Ariane 5 VA-247, the launch vehicle, has lifted off from Kourou launch base, French Guiana at around 2:30 am carrying GSAT-31 along with Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 satellites.
ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) stated: “The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-247 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana at 2:3am carrying GSAT-31 and Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 satellites, as scheduled.”
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About 42 minutes after the launch, GSAT-31 satellite separated in an elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit from the Ariane 5 upper stage with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of approximately 250 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of about 35,850 km, inclining into three degree angle to the equator.
S Pandian, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), who represented ISRO at the French Guiana for the launch, said, “It was a flawless launch. Gsat-31 was a replacement satellite for an Insat satellite. I congratulate Arianespace and also Isro officials who have been camping at the European spaceport since early January to prepare for the launch.”
He added, “Arianespace will also launch ISRO’ another communication satellite Gsat-30 in June-July.”
Pandian said this is the 23rd successful launch of an Indian satellite, as last year on December 5, Arianespace had launched India’s heaviest satellite GSAT-11 weighing about 5,854 kg providing data connectivity to connect rural and urban region of India.
GSAT-31 with little mass weight of 2,536 kg, will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit. The satellite is projected in a way to provide continuity to the operational services over some of the in-orbit satellite.
ISRO chairperson K Sivan said: “GSAT-31 has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands.”
GSAT-31 satellite will also provide DTH television services, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), stock-exchange, connectivity to VSATs for ATM as well as e-governance applications. It will also be used for bulk data connectivity and transfer for hosts of emerging telecommunication applications.
Before the launch, Sivan told TOI, “Gsat-31 will replace Insat-4CR, whose life is expected to end soon. Though Gsat-31 is not a heavy satellite (2,536kg), we are using the services of Arianespace as it is an emergency launch to replace the dying Insat satellite so that communication services are not affected. Gsat-31 satellite can only be launched with GSLV Mk III. But our MK III rockets are already booked for Chandrayaan-2 and other important missions. We don’t have spare GSLV vehicle for Gsat-31.”
The satellite will also provide a wide-beam coverage to facilitate communication on the large oceanic region which compromises large parts of the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea using a wide-bank transponder.