ISRO’s Gsat-11 sent back from space centre ahead of May-end launch

NEW DELHI: In what was being touted as probably the last Indian satellite launch by a foreign space agency, ISRO’s heavy-duty GSAT-11 communications satellite has been sent back to India for “unexplained” reasons from the Europe-based launch pad, according to a media report from Paris.

“India’s GSAT-11 high-throughput satellite, which arrived at Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport on March 30 in preparation for launch on an Ariane 5 rocket, has been returned to India following unexplained issues encountered at the spaceport, industry officials said,” tweeted on 23 April 2018, adding the satellite was to be launched late-May via Ariane 5 that was scheduled to carry some other birds, too, including the Azerspace-2/Intelsat-38 satellite.

However, till the time of writing this report, no confirmation or any additional information was available from India’s space agency ISRO, which has very ably been charting the country’s space policy and the visions of policy-makers and space scientists.

GSAT-11, according to information put out by ISRO earlier, is a multi-beam high-throughput communications satellite operating in Ka and Ku bands employing a new bus. It provides 32 user beams in Ku band and eight gateway beams in Ka band, which would have gone a long way in strengthening India’s all-round communications, including TV and broadband services. The payload includes Ka x Ku band forward-link transponders and Ku x Ka band return-link transponders. According to Wikipedia, GSAT-11’s cost will be Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion).

In a news report few days back, Times of India said that GSAT-11 was “so massive that each solar panel is over four metres long” and quoted ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan as saying that the heavy-duty Gsats would “provide high-bandwidth connectivity” of up to 100 gigabit per second and “high-speed internet connectivity in rural areas as well and help bridge the digital divide.”

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