ISRO loses contact with GSAT-6A, one of India's biggest communications satellites

The development comes as a huge setback, but ISRO said they are trying to establish links with GSAT-6A.
ISRO loses contact with GSAT-6A, one of India's biggest communications satellites
ISRO loses contact with GSAT-6A, one of India's biggest communications satellites
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The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) much-anticipated GSAT-6A was launched on Thursday, but India's premier space agency confirmed that it has lost communication with the satellite on Sunday. After a successful launch of GSLV-F08 ion Thursday, the satellite finished its first orbit raising operation on Friday morning.

“The second orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A satellite has been successfully carried out by LAM Engine firing for about 53 minutes on March 31, 2018 in the morning. After the successful long duration firings, when the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and the final firing, scheduled for April 1, 2018, communication from the satellite was lost. Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite,” ISRO said.

ISRO lost communication with the satellite after the second orbit-raising manoeuvre. When a satellite is launched, it is not raised in one go, but it is kept closer to earth before it is raised to its final orbit. The satellite is taken to its final orbit one step at a time. GSAT-6A, one of India's biggest communication devices was supposed to enhance communication services for the armed forces.

ISRO earlier said that the satellite - which cost Rs 270 crore - would be able to send and receive signals from hand-held devices.

The purpose of the satellite weighing 2140 kg is to provide mobile communication applications in S-band in five spot beams and C-band in one beam during its 10-year lifespan.

The GSLV is a three stage/engine rocket. The core of first stage is fired with solid fuel while the four strap-on motors by liquid fuel. The second stage is the liquid fuel-propelled and the third is the cryogenic engine.

The GSAT-6A is similar to the GSAT-6, which was put into orbit in 2015. However, both were embroiled in controversies.

90% of transponders were to be leased to Devas Multimedia by ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation under a deal which was annulled in February 2011 on the grounds that the country's defence needs had to be met.

Under the controversial deal, the Bengaluru-based Devas was to use the transponders of GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A in the crucial S-Band wavelength (that was primarily kept for the country's strategic interests) for its digital multimedia service for 12 years.

Antrix had signed the $300 million contract with Devas in January 2005 and obtained the sanction of the Space Commission and the union cabinet for the two satellites without informing the government that the bulk capacity would be leased to the multimedia service provider.

When the controversy broke in December 2009, ISRO ordered a review of the deal and subsequently, the Space Commission had recommended its annulment on July 2, 2010. Antrix terminated the deal on February 25, 2011.

Subsequently, the GSAT-6 was launched in 2015 and GSAT-6A in 2018.

With IANS inputs

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