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ISRO’s GSAT-30 satellite launched

Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) GSAT-30 has been recently sent into space from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou. The 3357-kg satellite will replace INSAT-4A, which was launched in 2005, and marks the first mission of the year for ISRO.

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The high-power satellite is equipped with 12 normal C band and 12 Ku band transponders.

GSAT-30 will provide direct-to-home (DTH) television services, connectivity to VSATs (that support working of bank ATMs), stock exchanges, television uplinking and teleport services, digital satellite news gathering, and e-governance applications. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications. Its unique configuration provides flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands through the Ku band and wide coverage over the Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries, and Australia through the C band.

In a flight lasting over 38 minutes, European Ariane-5 space vehicle VA-251 released GSAT-30 in an initial elliptical geosynchronous orbit. The ISRO Master Control Facility picked up its signals immediately and found its systems healthy. Over the coming weeks, MCF engineers will gradually adjust it into a final circular orbit 36,000 km from earth and apparently fixed at 83°East longitude over the country.

ISRO hired a foreign launcher as GSAT-30 is much heavier than the 2000-kg lifting capacity of its geostationary launch vehicle GSLV-MkII. As for the newer and more powerful GSLV-MkIII that can lift up to 4000 kg, the space agency plans to save the two or three upcoming MkIIIs mainly for its first human space flight Gaganyaan of 2022 and two preceding crew-less trials.

A consortium led by Alpha Design Technologies Ltd. assembled GSAT-30 at the ISRO Satellite Integration & Test Establishment in Bengaluru, Alpha’s CMD Colonel. Arianespace, the European launch service operator, has now sent 24 Indian communication satellites into orbit over the last 30 years; the APPLE experimental satellite of 1981 was its first Indian contract.

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