After losing two communication satellites last year, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) looks forward to the launch of its communication satellite, GSAT-8, at 2.08 a.m. (IST) on May 21. Arianespace's Ariane-V rocket will put the satellite in orbit after lift-off from Kourou in French Guiana.

“The launch of GSAT-8 is important for us because it will augment our transponder capacity, adding 24 Ku-band transponders to our kitty,” ISRO spokesman S. Satish said on Thursday.

GSAT-8 has a lift-off weight of 3,100 kg. ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore built it with the payloads coming from Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad.

GSAT-8 can be used for telecasting television programmes, beaming telephone-calls, internet communication, operating ATMs, and navigation.

The satellite has 24 high-power transponders in Ku-band that could be used for telecommunication and a GPS-Aided Geo-augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload.

An ISRO official said the GAGAN payload would help aircraft to land with an accuracy of less than 7.6 metres on the runways at the Indian airports. “When you are landing an aircraft, your real position should not differ from the estimated position by more than 7.6 metres. The aircraft will know its position using the information received from this satellite.”

After the satellite is put into an elliptical geo-synchronous orbit, ISRO's Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka will take control of it and give a command to the liquid apogee motor on board to fire, helping to raise the satellite's orbit and ultimately place it in a circular geo-stationary orbit. After this, the satellite's solar panels and antennae will be deployed and the satellite stabilised.

GSAT-8 is expected to be in orbit for 12 years.

ISRO officials conceded that “there is a pressing need” for this launch as the space agency was desperate for transponders after its two Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles (GSLVs) failed to put GSATs into orbit.

Keywords: GSAT-8 launch


GAGAN – making GPS more accurateJune 1, 2011