Indian Space Research Organisation is undertaking a series of tests on Gsat-11, the space agency’s heaviest communication satellite. Weighing more than 5.7 tonnes, the satellite has been recalled from the European spaceport to make sure that it doesn’t hold any “potential anomaly”.
As per the reports, the satellite is being tested at Bangaluru’s ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) and all the tests including the electrical circuits will be over by May 17. The initial launch date of Gsat-11 was scheduled on May 25 from the European spaceport but the launch was postponed as the agency didn’t want to take any chances.
If no potential anomaly is found in the test then the authorities will proceed with the formalities and will hold discussions with the officials at Arianespace. After agreeing to a launch date, the procedures will be followed accordingly.
It’s important to note that ISRO had already witnessed an unfortunate episode of signal failure with Gsat-6A, launched on March 29 from Sriharikota. The satellite went out of control during its third orbit-raising maneuver when its signal snapped due to suspected power failure. Since then, the agency has been trying to restore the link with the satellite.
Coming back to Gsat-11, it carries 40 transponders in Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies and can provide “high bandwidth connectivity” with up to 14 gigabits per second data transfer speed. The size of the satellite is so big that each solar panel is more than 4 meters long, which is almost the size of a room. Once launched, it would assist in high-speed internet connectivity in rural parts of India.
Reportedly, ISRO is also preparing to launch another communication satellite named Gsat-29 by July. This mission will target village resource centres in rural areas to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural India.