With this, the communication satellite’s orbit would be more or less circular

The third manoeuvre to boost the orbit of GSAT-14, India’s advanced communication satellite, was successfully executed on Thursday, making the orbit more or less circular.

The ground controllers at the Master Control Facility of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) did this by giving commands to the satellite’s propulsion system, called the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) to fire. At the end of 172 seconds of LAM’s “burn,” the first-cut data revealed that GSAT-14’s orbit had a perigee of 35,462km and an apogee of 35,741km, with an inclination of 0.25 degrees.

Over the coming days it would be allowed to gradually drift until it reached its final slot at 74 degrees E longitude.

The satellite’s east and west antennae, which are used for communicating with it from the ground, were deployed at 9.18am and 11.30am respectively on Thursday.

ISRO officials said GSAT-14 would slowly drift towards its final, circular geostationary orbit of 36,000km above the earth by January 20. The satellite’s transponders would then be checked out and the satellite would be made operational by January 27. GSAT-14 would be used for telecasting programmes, telecommunication, tele-education and tele-medicine.

The MCF had raised the satellite’s orbit for the first time on January 6 and the second time the next day. The three burns of the LAM have made the orbit more or less circular as targeted.

ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, called GSLV-D5, put GSAT-14 into a highly elliptical orbit on January 5 with a perigee of 179km and an apogee of 35,950km. A cryogenic engine built in India had propelled the GSLV-D5 into a perfect geosynchronous transfer orbit on that day. GSAT-14 will have a mission life of 12 years.

(With inputs from Madhumathi D.S)

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