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ISRO to replace INSAT-4A with GSAT-30

When operational, it will offer an option to current customers Tata Sky and Star India

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Mumbai: The location: Kourou, French Guiana. The date: 17 January 2020. The time: 02:35 am IST. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists will be at their consoles, their brows creased in concentration as the countdown for the liftoff off its new generation communication satellite GSAT 30 off Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket begins. Weighing 3,375 kg, GSAT-30 is set to replace one of the early birds in the ISRO fleet, the ageing Insat 4A.

Insat-4A was launched in 2005 with a lifespan of at least 12 years and has been operational way beyond that. Even though it is functioning fine, ISRO has decided to put in a replacement with advanced features and network strength. Amongst the two major  occupants and users of transponder capacity on Insat 4A are Tata Sky and Star India group.

Along with GSAT 30, Arianespace will also be putting into orbit global operator Eutelsat’s Konnect satellite on the same launch vehicle. GSAT-30 is the lower passenger in the Ariane-5 spacecraft, with Konnect its copassenger being released first.  This will be Arianespace’s 107th Ariane 5 mission.

To be positioned at a longitude of 83° East, GSAT-30 will provide high-quality television, telecommunications and broadcasting services over Indian mainland and islands. GSAT-30 is configured on ISRO’s enhanced I-3K platform to provide communications services from geostationary orbit in C- and Ku-band for a lifetime greater than 15 years. Last year, Arianespace had delivered the GSAT-31 into orbit.

GSAT-30 will provide extended coverage in C-band to Gulf countries, a large part of Asia and Australia. The move will help Indian broadcasters beam their content to Gulf countries, large parts of Asia and Australia, as well as the Indian mainland.

The GSAT-30 was speculated to launch in June last year, but was postponed to 2020 as India’s pioneer space agency got busy in launching military satellites in space in order to boost strategic assets in space as well as its moon mission.

In its GSAT-30 launch kit, ISRO said: “GSAT will be extensively used for supporting VSAT networks, Television uplinking and teleport Services, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), DTH-television services cellular backhaul connectivity and many such applications”.

Eutelesat Konnect on the other hand will offer total capacity of 75 Gbps and by next autumn will allow Eutelsat to provide Internet access services for companies and individuals alike at up to 100 Mbps. The satellite will help to fight against the digital divide by bringing broadband Internet across 40 countries in Africa and 15 countries across Europe.

Produced by Thales Alenia Space, it is the first to use the company’s Spacebus NEO platform developed under the Neosat Partnership Project conducted by the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES). Eutelsat Konnect will weight approximately 3,620 kg. at liftoff and is to operate from an orbital slot at 13 degrees East.

The proceedings will of course be telecsast live online as well on DD. To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary in French and English from the launch site), go to arianespace.com or to youtube.com/arianespace on 16 January 2020, beginning 20 minutes before liftoff.

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