India successfully launched its 40th communication satellite GSAT-31 from French Guiana in the early hours of Wednesday. India’s latest communication satellite was launched by European launch services provider- Arianespace’s rocket.
The rocket was blasted off from Ariane Launch Complex at Kourou, a French territory located in northeastern coast of South America at at 2.31 am (IST).GSAT-31 was injected into the orbit by the Ariane-5 vehicle in a flawless flight lasting about 42 minutes.
“It gives me great pleasure on the successful launch of GSAT-31 spacecraft on board Ariane-5,” Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) Director S Pandian said at Kourou soon after the launch. “Congratulation to Arianespace on the successful launch and precise injection of satellite into the orbit,” he added.
The GSAT-31 is a “high power” communication satellite with Ku-band, and it is going to serve and replace some of the satellites that are going to expire soon, he said further.
Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël tweeted: “2019 is off to a roaring start for #Arianespace! Flight #VA247, carrying Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 and GSAT-31, is a confirmed success that underscores our leadership position in the geostationary launch market. @KACST #HellasSat @ISRO @LockheedMartin.” The Ariane-5 vehicle (Flight VA247) also carried Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 along with GSAT-31.
GSAT-31 separated from the Ariane-5 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, ISRO said in a release after the launch.
After separation from Ariane-5, the two solar arrays of GSAT-31 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, it said.
Weighing about 2,536 kg, the Indian satellite, GSAT-31, will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites. The satellite derives its heritage from ISROs earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series, the space agency said, adding that it will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands.
GSAT-31 is the country’s 40th communication satellite which is configured on ISRO’s enhanced ‘I-2K Bus’, utilising the maximum “bus capabilities” of this type. This satellite will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit, ISRO said.