India’s 40th communication satellite GSAT-31 successfully launched

Bengaluru: GSAT-31 spacecraft, India’s 40th communication satellite, on board Ariane-5 was successfully launched from Ariane Launch Complex at Kourou, French Guiana today.

Arianespace’s rocket, which was also carrying Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4,  injected GSAT-31 into the orbit and flight lasted for about 42 minutes.

Soon after the launch, Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) Director S Pandian congratulated Arianespace on the successful launch and precise injection of satellite into the orbit. “It gives me great pleasure on the successful launch of GSAT-31 spacecraft on board Ariane-5,” he said.

Talking about the GSAT-31, Pandian said it was a high power communication satellite with Ku-band and that it is going to serve and replace some of the satellites.

He further added that soon we will be getting back to French Guiana some time in June, July to launch GSAT-30.

“2019 is off to a roaring start for #Arianespace! Flight #VA247, carrying Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 and GSAT-31, is a confirmed success that underscores our leadership position in the geostationary launch market. @KACST #HellasSat @ISRO @LockheedMartin,” teeted Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel.

In a press release, ISRO said, the two solar arrays of GSAT-31 were automatically deployed in quick succession after separation from Ariane-5. The command and control of GSAT-31, which weighed 2,536 kg, was taken over by ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka and its health parameters were found normal.

According to the space agency, a phase-wise orbit-raising manoeuvres will be undertaken to place the satellite in Geostationary Orbit using its on-board propulsion system and the antenna reflector of GSAT-31 will be deployed during the final stages of its orbit raising operations. After the successful completion of all in-orbit tests, the satellite will be operational.

The satellite weighs 2,536 kg and has a mission life of around 15 years, and derives its heritage from ISROs earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series. It will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands. It is said to be the country’s 40th communication satellite which is configured on ISRO’s enhanced ‘I-2K Bus’, utilising the maximum “bus capabilities” of this type.

ISRO chairman K Sivan said in press release, “GSAT-31 has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage, and it will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications. It will also provide wide beam coverage to facilitate communication over large oceanic regions, such as Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.”

NT Bureau