February 6, 2019
The latest GSAT-31 satellite derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series
GSAT-31 satellite will provide digital communication services to Indian mainland and islands
In Dec 2018, ISRO launched its heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11 from French Guiana
In 2019, ISRO expects to launch 12 to 14 missions, including India’s second mission to the moon
The latest communication satellite from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), GSAT-31, was launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana on February 6. The launch vehicle, Ariane 5 VA-247, lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana, carrying India’s GSAT-31 and Saudi Arabia’s Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 satellites. With a lift-off mass of 2,536 kg, GSAT-31 will boost Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit. The satellite from the Indian Government-run space agency will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites.
GSAT-31 derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series. ISRO Chairman K Sivan said that GSAT-31 was equipped with a unique configuration that provides flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands. GSAT-31 will also provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.
Soon after separation from Ariane-5 upper stage, ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-31. In the days ahead, scientists will undertake phase-wise orbit-raising manoeuvres to place the satellite in Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) using its on-board propulsion system. During the final stages of its orbit raising operations, the antenna reflector of GSAT-31 will be deployed. Following this, GSAT-31 will be put in its final orbital configuration. It will be operational after the successful completion of all in-orbit tests.
In December 2018, ISRO had launched its heaviest and most-advanced communication satellite GSAT-11 from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana. GSAT-11 will provide high-speed data connectivity. Last month, ISRO had successfully launched the Microsat-R and Kalamsat-V2 satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) in Sriharikota. The GSAT-11 mission was launched by ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44) in its 46th flight. Of the two, Kalamsat-V2 is a student-built satellite. This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-DL, a new variant of PSLV with two strap-on motors.
In the previous PSLV launch on November 29, PSLV-C43 had successfully launched an earth observation satellite from India named Hyper-Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) as well as 30 foreign satellites. The launch of 31 satellites in November came 15 days after the GSLV MkIII-D2 mission which injected the GSAT-29 communication satellite. India now has more than 50 operational satellites. In 2019, ISRO expects to launch 12 to 14 missions, including India’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan II.