India’s heaviest rocket GSLV-MK III, the designated flight for the country’s first human spaceflight programme planned for 2022, on Wednesday successfully launched communication satellite, GSAT-29, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, 100 km from Chennai.
GSAT-29, the heaviest satellite launched on the Indian soil, will help boost communication and broadband services in remote areas in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states as part of the government’s ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme.
The GSLV-MK III carrying GSAT-29, weighing 3,423 kg, blasted off from the SDSC-Sriharikota Range (SHAR) at 5:08 pm and placed the satellite into Geo Transfer Orbit (GTO) just over 16 minutes into its flight.
“After injection, Isro’s Master Control Facility at Hassan has assumed the control of the satellite. In the coming days, three orbit raising manoeuvres will be executed to position the satellite in the Geostationary Orbit at its designated location,” the Isro said.
Immediately after the satellite was placed into the orbit, Isro chief Dr K Sivan lauded scientists for the successful launch of the communication satellite and announced that the GSLV-MK III rocket will be used in the Chandrayaan-2 mission scheduled for the first week of January 2019. Isro has a tight schedule in the coming months and the next launch is likely to be in the first week of December followed by Chandrayaan-2.
“India has achieved significant milestone with our heaviest launcher lifting off the heaviest satellite from the Indian soil. After a majestic travel of 16 minutes, it precisely injected the satellite into the intended Geo Transfer Orbit and I congratulate entire Isro team for this achievement,” he said.
GSLV-MK III, which according to Sivan is a “fantastic vehicle”, will carry humans to space in three years from now.
As the GSLV-MK III successfully launched its second flight, Dr Sivan declared the rocket operational and said the success marks an important milestone in Indian space programme towards achieving self-reliance in launching heavier satellites.
GSAT-29 is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for several new and critical technologies.
Its 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 Northeastern regions of India.
“In addition, the Q/V-Band communication payload onboard is intended to demonstrate the future high throughput satellite system technologies. Geo High Resolution Camera will carry out high resolution imaging. Optical Communication Payload will demonstrate data transmission at a very high rate through optical communication link,” Isro said.
The launch is significant since the earlier communication satellite, GSAT-6A, ended in a failure after the ISRO lost touch with it within two days of its launch in March early this year.
GSLV-MK III D2: Is the fifth-generation launch vehicle developed by ISRO
Designed to place a satellite weighing up to 4,000 kg in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO)
Will be used in Chandrayaan-2 and India’s manned mission to moon
Rocket lifted GSAT-29 from Sriharikota on Wednesday
The multi-beam communication satellite is the heaviest to be launched from Indian soil
The satellite weighs 3,423 kg
Will boost communication services in remote areas in J&K and north-eastern states
Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are configured to cater to the communication requirements of users