Arianespace's Ariane 5 taking off from the spaceport in French Guiana with India's GSAT-11 and Korea's Geo-Kompsat-2A on board on December 4, 2018 evening local time (early on December 5, 2018 IST). (Photo: Arianespace)
London, December 5, 2018
India's largest and heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11 was placed in orbit by Arianespace's Ariane 5 mission which took off from its spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana in the wee hours of today.
GSAT-11 was one of two international satellite payloads on Flight VA 246, the other being Korea's Geo-Kompsat-2A.
"Designated Flight VA246 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, it delivered the ISRO GSAT-11 relay platform for Ku- and Ka-band communications, along with KARI’s Geo-Kompsat-2A – which is to provide meteorological and space weather monitoring data," a press release from Arianespace said.
“I want to express my deepest gratitude to two very special partners since the beginning of their space ambitions: ISRO and KARI,” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël in post-launch comments from the spaceport.
Israël noted that GSAT-11 was the 22nd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers, tracing the relationship back to India’s APPLE small experimental communications spacecraft, which had a liftoff mass of 670-kg. and was lofted in 1981 by an Ariane 1 version.
On today’s Ariane 5 mission, GSAT-11 weighed in at 5,854.6 kg. – the largest and heaviest satellite ever built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), he said.
Deployed first during Ariane 5’s 33-minute mission to geostationary transfer orbit, GSAT-11 will be positioned at 74 degrees East, providing communications services in Ku- and Ka-bands in both forward and return links. The satellite was designed and manufactured by ISRO, with its multi-spot beam coverage over the Indian mainland and nearby islands to bring significant advantages to users when compared with existing India’s INSAT/GSAT satellite systems. GSAT-11’s design lifetime is more than 15 years.
With its new system architecture and cutting-edge technology elements, GSAT-11 will generate a capacity of more than 12 Gbps for users from a single platform.
Geo-Kompsat-2A was carried in Ariane 5’s lower payload position and released second in the sequence for Flight VA246. Developed by KARI at its South Korean facility in Daejeon, this 3,507.2-kg. satellite will deliver meteorological and space weather monitoring from an orbital position of 128.2 degrees East as part of a Korean government national program.
Top ISRO officials were present in Kourou for the launch of GSAT-11, which is part of the space agency's new family of high-throughput satellites (HTS) that will, among other things, enable the provision of high-speed broadband services to new areas.
The satellite had already reached Kourou at the end of March for the flight and was transported back to India for the additional checks.
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