India’s Heaviest Communication Satellite GSAT-11 Launched Successfully from French Guiana

‘Big Bird’, India’s first six-tonne-class advanced communication satellite GSAT-11, with the mission is to enable high-speed satellite-based Internet services to users in rural, remote areas and to businesses down home over the next 15 years, was put into orbit in the early hours of Wednesday 5 December 2018 from the European Spaceport in Guiana in South America.

Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heaviest – 5854 kg satellite and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 was successfully launched from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou at 2.07 a.m. IST on 5 December. The local time at the launch centre was 5.37 p.m on 4 December.

All About the launch Steps of  Communication Satellite GSAT-11

  • Launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-246 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, carrying India’s GSAT-11 and South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A satellites, as scheduled.
  • Ariane 5 is one of three launch vehicles operated by Arianespace along with Soyuz and Vega.
  • GSAT-11 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit after a 30-min flight.
  • The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one.
  • ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-11 post-separation and found its health parameters normal.
  • The satellite and the launch fee have cost ISRO ₹1,200 crore.
  • GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.
  • GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme.
  • Bharat Net Project aims to enhance the public welfare schemes like e-banking, e-health, e-governance among others.

Guiana Space Centre or, more commonly, Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) is a French and European Spaceport to the northwest of Kourou in French Guiana, France. Operational since 1968, it is particularly suitable as a location for a spaceport as it fulfils the following major geographical requirements of such a site:

  • Less energy is required to manoeuvre a spacecraft into an equatorial geostationary orbit as it is near the Equator, and
  • Lower stages of rockets and debris from launch failures are unlikely to fall on human habitations as it has open sea to the east.
  • Rockets launch to the east to take advantage of the angular momentum provided by Earth’s rotation.

ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said, “GSAT-11 will act as a forerunner to all future high throughput communication satellites. “Today’s successful mission has boosted the confidence of the entire team”.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi congratulating ISRO on successful launch of GSAT-11 stated, “A major milestone for our space programme, which will transform the lives of crores of Indians by connecting remote areas! Congrats to ISRO for the successful launch of GSAT-11, this is the heaviest, largest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite of India. India is proud of our scientists, who keep innovating and setting high standards of scale, achievements and success. Their remarkable work inspires every Indian”.


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