India’s heaviest satellite GSAT-11 successfully launched from French Guiana

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India's heaviest satellite GSAT-11 successfully launched from French Guiana

Bengaluru: India’s heaviest satellite GSAT-11, that would boost broadband services in the country, was successfully launched by an Arianespace rocket from the French Guiana in the early hours of Wednesday.

Blasting off from the Ariane Launch Complex in Kourou, a French territory located along the northeastern coast of South America at 02:07 am (IST), the Ariane-5 vehicle injected the GSAT-11 into the orbit in a flawless flight lasting about 33 minutes. The launch was broadcast live on Doordarshan.

“…..The heaviest, largest and most powerful satellite ever built by India is successfully launched by Ariane-5 today,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan said soon after the launch.

Stating that GSAT-11 is going to be the “richest space asset” for India, he said “the satellite has 38 spot beams as well as eight sub beams, which would cover the entire country, including the remote places … It is going to provide something like 16 GBPS data link services to the country.”

GSAT-11 is the third in a series of four satellites aimed at achieving the government’s ambitious target to provide high data connectivity of 100 GBPS in the country under the Digital India Mission, Sivan added. Weighing about 5,854 kg, GSAT-11 is the “heaviest” satellite built by the ISRO.

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GSAT-11 is a next generation “high throughput” communication satellite configured around ISRO’s I-6K Bus, and its designed lifetime is more than 15 years. The satellite will be initially placed in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and later, raised to the Geostationary Orbit by firing the on-board Liquid Apogee Motor.

The GSAT-11 is the fore-runner in a series of advanced communications satellites with multi-spot beam antenna coverage over Indian mainland and islands, the ISRO said. The satellite will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country and also be a platform to demonstrate new generation applications, it said.

GSAT-11 was initially planned for launch on May 25 but was rescheduled with the ISRO citing the need for additional technical checks and recalling it. According to the space agency, GSAT-11 would provide high data connectivity to users across India, broadband connectivity to gram panchayats under the BharathNet project and support high data rate applications for enterprise network and consumer broadband applications.

The Ariane-5 vehicle (Flight VA246) also carried GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), along with GSAT-11. The 3,507.20 kg GEO-KOMPSAT-2A is designed to conduct meteorological and space weather monitoring missions. Since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, it has orbited 22 satellites under contracts with the Indian space agency, Arianespace said, adding that two more satellites, GSAT-31 and GSAT-30, were in the order book.