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Gsat-11, India's heaviest comms satellite, launched

ISRO has said two more satellites, Gsat-31 and Gsat-30, are in the pipeline

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NEW DELHI: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT- 11 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the early hours of today.

The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-246 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana at 2.07 am (IST) carrying India’s GSAT-11 and South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A satellites, as scheduled. Ariane 5 is one of three launch vehicles operated by Arianespace along with Soyuz and Vega.

After a 30-min flight, GSAT-11 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one.

The 5,854-kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.

“GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible gram panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net project, which is part of Digital India programme,” ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan said.

The Bharat Net project aims to enhance the public welfare schemes like e-banking, e-health, e-governance and entertainment services among others.

Sivan said GSAT-11 will act as a forerunner to all future high throughput communication satellites. “Today’s successful mission has boosted the confidence of the entire team,” he added.

This 10th mission in 2018 reflects the availability and flexibility of Arianespace, which has performed a launch every two weeks since 6 November, the European company said on its website, adding since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has won nearly all of India’s geostationary orbit launch contracts opened to non-Indian launch vehicles, and has signed 24 launch contracts with the Indian space agency.

GSAT-11 is the 22nd satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace, and the largest and heaviest satellite ever built by India’s space agency. Arianespace has two other ISRO satellites in its order book to launch: GSAT-30 and GSAT-31. The latter, GSAT-31, will be lifted by Arianespace early next year.

GSAT-11 was initially planned for launch on 25 May 2018 but was rescheduled with the ISRO citing the need for additional technical checks.

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