ISRO successfully launched the GSLV-F08 carrying the GSAT6A communication satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota at 4.56pm today. Today’s launch adds another feather in ISRO’s cap as it is mastering the technique of making home-made communicati on satellites. The GSAT-6A satellite will be put into orbit around 17 minutes after the rocket’s lift off.
GSLV Mk II (F08) carrying GSAT-6A took off from the second launch pad in Sriharikota. Today’s launch marked its 12th flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV-F08 and sixth flight with indigenous Cryogenic upper stage.
A key feature of the satellite is providing mobile communication to India through multi beam coverage facility. According to the ISRO, two improvements — induction of high thrust Vikas engine and electromechanical actuation system — have been made in the rocket’s second stage this time around.
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 that could be useful in satellite based mobile communication applications.
GSLV-F08, weighing 415.6 tonnes with a height of 49.1 metre comes with notable improvements like induction of High Thrust Vikas Engine, electromechanical actuation system in place of electro-hydraulic actuation system.
The GSAT-6A, the twin of the GSAT-6 , a high power S-band communication satellite built on I-2K satellite bus with a mission life of about ten years.
However, the two satellites became a subject of controversy as 90 per cent of transponders were to be leased to Devas Multimedia by the ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation under a deal which was annulled in February 2011 on the grounds that the country’s defence needs had to be met.
Under the controversial deal, the Bengaluru-based Devas was to use the transponders of GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A in the crucial S-Band wavelength (that was primarily kept for the country’s strategic interests) for its digital multimedia service for 12 years.
Antrix had signed the $300 million contract with Devas in January 2005 and obtained the sanction of the Space Commission and the union cabinet for the two satellites without informing the government that the bulk capacity would be leased to the multimedia service provider.
When the controversy broke in December 2009, the ISRO ordered a review of the deal and subsequently the Space Commission had recommended its annulment on July 2, 2010. Antrix terminated the deal on February 25, 2011.
“We have slightly tweaked the configuration of GSAT-6 from the original one to suit the needs of strategic users,” ISRO’s then Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told IANS after the launch of GSAT-6.
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