Satellites

GSAT-18 successfully launches, new capacity for DTH operators, TV channels

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MUMBAI: Indian DTH operators, television channels, VSAT and digital satellite news gathering providers are a happy lot because of a development in Kouro French Guiana this morning. The reason: the successful launch of Arianespace’s Ariane 5 VA 531 rocket with its passenger, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s GSAT-18 satellite. When the satellite starts ticking fully a few weeks later, its 48 transponders ranging from Ku-band, C-Band to extended C-Band will be beaming their signals over India to Indian TV viewers and companies.

32:28 minutes after blasting off from the launch site, the 3,400 kg GSAT-18 was placed in geo-synchronous transfer orbit (GTO) this morning around 2:30 am. And, ISRO officials including the Indian ambassador in France Mohan Kumar leapt up, fisting the air in triumph.

Following that, ISRO’s master control facility took charge of it and will perform operations which will result it being placed in a circular geo-stationary orbit. Following this, ISRO will deploy the solar panels – which will provide it power over its 15 year life – and antenna. The satellite will then be stabilized on three axis, placed at 74 degrees East longitude, and become part of ISRO’s 14 telecom fleet in space

Later, it is planned to experimentally turn on the communication payloads of GSAT-18. After the successful completion of all the in-orbit tests, GSAT-18 will be ready for operational use.

This was the Indian space organisation’s twentieth satellite mission through Arianespace. It will add to that count when it launches two more satellites – GSAT 11 and GSAT-11 – using Arianespace launchers in 2017.

The VA 531 flight had another payload – Australia’s SkyMuster II satellite – which too was placed successfully in orbit. SkyMuster II aims to provide broadband facilities to remote locations in Australia.

Prime minister Narendra Modi sent out his congratulatory message on Twitter to the scientists at ISRO.

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