ISRO's gift for Indian Armed Forces: GSAT -6A

Communication Satellite: GSAT -6A

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) added another feather to its cap by successfully placing the high-power S-band communication satellite GSAT-6A, precisely into the designated orbit on 29 March 2018.Indigenously built, GSLV Mk II (F08) carried GSAT-6A that took off from the second launch pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, at 4.56pm. 
This launch marked the 12th flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV-F08 and sixth flight with indigenous Cryogenic upper stage. GSAT-6A will complement its predecessor GSAT-6, it is different from the usual communication satellites, as it will exclusively provide services for defence purposes and will not add any transponder capacity for general uses. The mission life of the satellite is about ten years.GSAT-6 has been in orbit providing communication services since its launch on August 27, 2015. 

Features of GSAT- 6A:

  • GSAT-6A, which cost around Rs 270 crore, weighs 2,140kg, is a high powered S-band communication satellite built on I-2K satellite bus (I-2K developed by ISRO, is a standard bus for 2,000 kg class satellites; the 'I' in I-2K stands for INSAT, a group of communication satellites developed and launched by ISRO.
  • The satellite will provide mobile communication through ‘multi beam coverage facility’. Multi beam coverage facility enables asynchronous communications between each hub and the satellite to maximize frequency re-use and the overall capacity of the system.
  • The satellite will also provide a platform for developing technologies such as demonstration of 6 m S-Band Unfurlable Antenna, handheld ground terminals and network management techniques.
  • Besides the cryogenic engine of GSLV, for the first time, a second indigenously developed engine, called Vikas was installed for validation purposes. The high thrust Vikas engine works on liquid propellants. The improved engine, which will power the second stage of the launch vehicle, will enhance its payload capability by additional 70kg.
  • The successful launch of GSAT -6A will give a short in the arm for the Indian Armed Forces. The security forces stationed in remote corners of the country will be able to send and receive signals from hand-held devices. The handheld devices have been already fine-tuned by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The DRDO hopes to deploy a large number of these, especially for security personnel in Maoist-hit areas.

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