India’s communication satellite GSAT-31 has been launched successfully from French Guiana in the wee hours today. The Ariane-5 rocket lifted off with it from Kourou Launch Base at 2:31 am Indian time, and in 42-minutes, placed it in the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
It was immediately taken control by Indian Space Research Organization ISRO scientists from its Hassan facility in Karnataka. After bringing the satellite to its final geostationary orbit using the usual orbit-raising manoeuvres in the next few days, it will be made operational.
ISRO chairman Dr Sivan has said, GSAT-31 will provide transponder capacity for DTH television and connectivity to services like VSATs for ATMs, stock-exchanges, Digital Satellite News Gathering DSNG and e-governance applications. He added, the satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.
“The satellite GSAT-31 has the footprint over both mainland India and her island territories. It has an operational life of over fifteen years, offering seamless services by replacing the ageing INSAT-4CR satellite. GSAT-31 is India’s fortieth communication satellite.
Eleven such satellites are already in operation, serving the nation in space. They together make one of the largest constellations of its class in the world. As the transponder requirements are huge, more such launches are in the pipeline, as said by ISRO. GSAT-31 had a lift-off mass of 2536 kg.
Though India’s own GSLV rockets are capable of launching such payloads, ISRO has clarified, the foreign booster’s services have been used keeping in view the urgency attached with it, as the available GSLV rockets have been booked for other important missions like the forthcoming Chandrayaan-2.