ISRO’s heaviest satellite launch from French Guiana on Nov 30

New Delhi August 06 Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will launch its heaviest satellite Gsat-11 weighing over 5.7 tonnes from the European spaceport in French Guiana on November 30.

The communications satellite, which will help increase internet speed in the country, was earlier this year recalled from French Guiana in order to check for possible glitches. Isro felt the need to take the unusual step of recalling the satellite in April as a precaution especially after the failure of the Gsat-6A satellite mission around the same time.

The communications satellite went out of control and signal from it was lost soon after its launch on March 29 and two orbit-raising manoeuvres. Based on the advice of its senior scientists and experts, Isro not only recalled Gsat-11 from the European launchpad but also checked all components of the heaviest satellite, including the electrical circuit. Talking to TOI, Isro chairman K Sivan said, “After a series of negotiations, Arianespace has finally agreed to launch Gsat-11 this year itself and fix November 30 as the date of the launch.”

Gsat-11 also came into limelight due to a controversy when a senior Isro scientist resented that the launch of the heaviest satellite was unnecessarily being delayed.

The high-throughput satellite, which carries 40 transponders in the Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies, is capable of “providing high bandwidth connectivity” with up to 14 gigabit per second data transfer speed. The heavy-duty communication satellite is so massive that each solar panel is over four metres long, equivalent to the size of a big room.

The satellite is meant to provide multi-spot beam coverage over the India mainland and nearby islands, bringing significant advantages to users when compared with the country’s existing INSAT/Gsat satellite systems.