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INTRODUCTION Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
added another feather to its cap by successfully placing the high-power S-band communication satellite GSAT–6A, precisely into the designated orbit on 29 March 2018.
The Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. Its vision is to “harness space technology for national development” while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration
ABOUT THE LAUNCH
Indigenously built, GSLV Mk II (F08) carried GSAT-6A that took off from the second launch pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, at 4.56pm. Today’s launch marked the 12th flight of GSLV-F08(Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) and sixth flight with indigenous Cryogenic upper stage.
Though, GSAT-6A will complement its predecessor GSAT-6, it is different from the usual communication satellites, as it will exclusively provide services for defence purposes and will not add any transponder capacity for general uses. The mission life of the satellite is about ten years.
The previous GSAT-6 has been in orbit providing communication services since its launch on August 27, 2015.
Key Features of GSAT-6A Satellite
GSAT-6A, which cost around Rs 270 crore, weighs 2,140kg, is a high powered S-band communication satellite built on I-2K satellite bus (I-2K developed by ISRO, is a standard bus for 2,000 kg class satellites; the ‘I’ in I-2K stands for INSAT, a group of communication satellites developed and launched by ISRO. I-2K spacecraft bus platform can supply DC power up to 3000 watts and is targeted towards satellites in lift off mass in range of 1500–2500 kg).
The satellite will provide mobile communication through ‘multi beam coverage facility’. The satellite generates a network of spot beam coverage areas on the earth. A hub and at least one ground terminal are located in each of at least two spot beams. Multi beam coverage facility enables asynchronous communications between each hub and the satellite to maximize frequency re-use and the overall capacity of the system.
The satellite will also provide a platform for developing technologies such as demonstration of 6 m S-Band Unfurlable Antenna, handheld ground terminals and network management techniques. The 6m diameter antenna, gives it more power, which ensures that a two-way exchange of data, voice or video, can be carried out through small hand-held devices from any corner of the country.
Besides the cryogenic engine of GSLV, for the first time, a second indigenously developed engine, called Vikas was installed for validation purposes. The high thrust Vikas engine works on liquid propellants. The improved engine, which will power the second stage of the launch vehicle, will enhance its payload capability by additional 70kg. Vikas engine may be used after validation during the launch of Chandrayaan-2 mission planned in October 2018.
Lastly, the successful launch of GSAT -6A will give a short in the arm for the Indian Armed Forces. The security forces stationed in remote corners of the country will be able to send and receive signals from hand-held devices. The handheld devices have been already fine-tuned by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The DRDO hopes to deploy a large number of these, especially for security personnel in Maoist-hit areas.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has had many remarkable milestones since their launch in 1969. They have time and again proved that they completely stand by their vision to ‘harness space technology for national development’ The launch of GSAT -6A is a highly commendable feat by ISRO of which every Indian is highly proud.