The Indian Space Research Organisation has marked a big milestone by successfully testing its heavy-lift launcher while launching an advanced communication satellite. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) launched GSAT-29, an advanced communications satellite, into a geosynchronous transfer orbit where the satellite’s closest approach to earth would be 190 km and the farthest 35,975 km.
Features of GSAT-29:
- GSAT-29 is a multibeam, multiband communication satellite.
- The GSAT-29 satellite carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders.
- In addition, several new technologies such as Q/V-band payload, data transmission through optical communication link will be demonstrated. This will help in realising future advanced satellites.
- GSLV-Mk III is the fifth generation launch vehicle developed by ISRO and is designed to place satellites of up to 4,000 kg in GTO.
- The GSLV-Mk III-D2 is a three stage launch vehicle with two solid strap-ons, a liquid core stage and a cryogenic upper stage.
- Compared to solid and liquid stages, the C25 cryogenic stage is more efficient as well as complex.
- The mission life is about 10 years.
- GSLV Mk III is the heaviest launch vehicle made in India, and GSAT29 is the heaviest satellite to take off from Indian soil.
- The heavy lift launcher is going to be used for Chandrayaan-II in early 2019.
Importance of GSAT-29 in connecting people from remote areas:
- GSAT-29 will improve Internet in Jammu & Kashmir and states in North East.
- Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are configured to cater to the communication requirements of users including those from remote areas especially from Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern regions of India.
- The Q/V-Band communication payload onboard is intended to demonstrate the future high throughput satellite system technologies.
- GSAT-29 said the launch will help to bridge the digital divide.
- The satellite is aimed at solving the communication barriers of Village Resource Centres (VRCs), which enable space-based services to ISRO from rural areas.
- The satellite will be useful in remote areas of the country for providing connectivity under the Centre’s Digital India programme.
- A high-resolution camera will be demonstrated at the higher geostationary orbit (GEO) of around 36,000 km for the first time. GEO satellites orbit along the equator and appear ‘fixed’ at a point over the country.
- The Geo High-Resolution Camera to aid in high-resolution imaging.
- For the first time, an optical communication payload will be utilised for data transmission at a very high rate.
- Earth imaging cameras are put on remote-sensing satellites that orbit Earth at around 600 km, in polar orbits.
The success of GSLV Mk III-D2 marks an important milestone in Indian space programme towards achieving self-reliance in launching heavier satellites. The GSLV Mk III has not just boosted the satellite into its orbit, but also restored morale at ISRO, which had been dented by the GSAT 6A setback. Future space exploration will require us to inhabit the moon, initially, and later Mars. This is a humongous task for any one nation to carry out.
Cooperation amongst space-faring nations will become essential and the ISS experiment is a good proof of this concept. Going forward, we must begin utilizing and leveraging each other’s strengths for common benefits.