Ariane 5 places India's communication satellite GSAT-30 in orbit
New Delhi, January 17, 2020
Arianespace's Ariane 5 launch vehicle on Thursday placed India's communication satellite GSAT-30 and its co-passenger Eutelsat Konnect into geostationary transfer orbit.
Ariane 5 lifted off from Arianespace's spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana at 6.05 pm local time (2.35 am on Friday, Indian time) with the two satellites on board, adding up to a payload of 7,888 kg.
Eutelsat Konnect was released first in the flight sequence, separating from Ariane 5 at 27 minutes after liftoff, followed 11 minutes later by GSAT-30.
"Today’s success – designated Flight VA251 – continued long relationships of trust between Arianespace and the mission’s customers: Eutelsat and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)," a press release from Arianespace said.
“For the first Ariane 5 launch of the year, our heavyweight vehicle has once more performed flawlessly,” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël, who provided his post-flight comments from the Spaceport’s mission control center.
Arianespace’s successful Flight VA251 marked the 251st flight of an Ariane-series launch vehicle.
Eutelsat Konnect – which was produced by Thales Alenia Space – is a new-generation high-throughput satellite that will help bridge the digital divide by bringing broadband Internet across 40 countries in Africa and 15 countries across Europe. In Africa, it also will – through the establishment of public Wi-Fi terminals – share internet access between several users, marketed in the form of coupons that can be paid via mobile phone.
Featuring all-electric propulsion and configured for operation in Ka-band, Eutelsat Konnect is the first satellite to use Thales Alenia Space’s Spacebus Neo platform, developed under the Neosat Partnership Project conducted by the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES). It weighed an estimated 3,619 kg. at liftoff.
Weighing 3357 kg, GSAT-30, designed and manufactured by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is an operational communication satellite for DTH, television uplink and VSAT services. It is configured on ISRO's enhanced I-3K bus structure to provide communication services from geostationary orbit in C and Ku bands. GSAT-30 derives its heritage from the earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
ISRO said GSAT-30 would serve as replacement for INSAT-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage. The communication payload of GSAT-30 is specifically designed and optimized to maximize the number of transponders on the spacecraft bus.
The Dual Gridded Reflector antenna will provide wide coverage in C-band and a Ku-band Gregorian Antenna will provide coverage to Indian mainland and islands.
GSAT-30 will be extensively used for supporting VSAT networks, television uplinking and teleport services, digital satellite news gathering (DSNG), DTH television services, cellular backhaul connectivity and many such applications.
It will also provide extended coverage in C-band, which will help television broadcasters beam their programmes over India, Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia.
This was Arianespace's first launch in 2020.
Since the launch of India’s Apple experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has orbited 23 satellites and signed 24 launch contracts with ISRO.
"The orbiting of GSAT-30 marks another demonstration of the strong bond uniting Europe and India in space cooperation," Arianespace said.
“GSAT-30 has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands through Ku-band and wide coverage covering Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia through C-band” ISRO Chairman K Sivan said.
Dr. Sivan also said that “GSAT-30 will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Television uplinking and Teleport Services, 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.”
A press release from ISRO issued later this morning said its Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-30 immediately after its separation from the launch vehicle. Preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its normal health.
In the days ahead, orbit-raising manoeuvres will be performed to place the satellite in Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using its on-board propulsion system.
During the final stages of its orbit raising operations, the two solar arrays and the antenna reflectors of GSAT-30 will be deployed. Following this, the satellite will be put in its final orbital configuration. The satellite will be operational after the successful completion of all in-orbit tests.