In the second major failure within seven months, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lost communication with GSAT-6A satellite.
Issuing an official statement, ISRO said the second orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A satellite has been successfully carried out by LAM (liquid apogee motor) Engine firing for about 53 minutes on March 31 morning. After the successful long duration firings, when the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and the final firing, scheduled for April 1 communication from the satellite was lost. Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite, the statement reads.
However, sources told the Express that the satellite has suffered an irretrievable power shutdown, which meant GSAT-6A is as good as space junk, although officials are still putting a optimistic face.
GSAT-6A is the twin of GSAT-6, which has been orbiting since August 2015. The satellite, which costs Rs 270 cr, was to provide communication through five spot beams in S-band and a national beam in C-band for strategic users. The cuboid shaped GSAT-6A has a lift-off mass of 2066 kg, of this propellants weight about 1,200 kg and the dry mass of the satellite is around 940 kg.
One of the advanced features of GSAT-6A satellite is its S-Band Unfurlable Antenna of 6 m diameter. This is one of the largest satellite antennas realised by ISRO. This antenna is utilised for five spot beams over the Indian main land. After its injection into GTO by GSLV-F08, ISRO’s master control facility at Hassan takes control of of GSAT-6A and performs the initial orbit raising manoeuvres by repeatedly firing the Liquid Apogree Motor (LAM) on-board the satellite, finally placing it in the cirucular Geostationary Orbit. After this, deployment of the antenna and three axis stabilisation of the satellite will be performed. GSAT-6A will be positioned at 83 degrees East longitude in about a week’s time.