India’s Communication Satellite GSAT-31 Launched

GSAT-31, India’s latest communication satellite that will be used for supporting VSAT networks, Television uplinks, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), DTH Television Services, Cellular backhaul connectivity, Stock- exchange, and e-governance applications, was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana on Wednesday 6 February 2019.

“GSAT-31 has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands” Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, said.

  • Two Ku-band beacon downlink signals are transmitted by the satellite for ground tracking purpose.
  • GSAT-31 will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.
  • GSAT-31 also provides wide beam coverage using a wide band transponder.

Spaceport in French Guiana, also known as the Guiana Space Centre, a French and European spaceport to the northwest of Kourou, a French territory located in north-eastern coast of South America, in France, is a strategically-located facility that provides optimum operating conditions for Arianespace’s commercial launches with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-size Soyuz and lightweight Vega.

Ariane 5 VA-247 Launch Vehicle lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana at 2:31 am (IST) carrying India’s GSAT-31 and Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 satellites, as scheduled.

GSAT-31, after a 42-min flight, separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 250 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,850 km, inclined at an angle of 3.0 degree to the equator.

GSAT-31’s two solar arrays, after separation from Ariane-5 upper stage, were automatically deployed in quick succession and ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-31 and found its health parameters normal.

Scientists will in the days ahead, undertake phase-wise orbit-raising manoeuvres to place the satellite in Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) using its on-board propulsion system.

GSAT-31’s antenna reflector will be deployed during the final stages of its orbit raising operations. 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.

  • GSAT-31, with a mission life of around 15 years, is India’s 40th communication satellite.
  • GSAT-31, configured on ISRO’s enhanced I-2K Bus, utilising the maximum bus capabilities of this type.
  • GSAT-31, although pegged to be a replacement for INSAT-4CR, will also help ISRO maintain continuity of services being provided by some other communication satellites
  • GSAT-31, with a lift-off mass of 2536 kg, will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit.
  • GSAT-31 satellite will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites.
  • GSAT-31 derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series.
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