‘Big bird’ to push high-speed data era

An Ariane 5 rocket lifts off from Europe’s Spaceport on December 4, 2018 in Kourou, French Guiana, to deliver two satellites, GSAT-11 satellite for ISRO and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute), into their planned orbits.   | Photo Credit: AFP

India’s first six-tonne-class ‘big bird’ in space, advanced communication satellite GSAT-11, was put into orbit in the early hours of Wednesday from the European spaceport in Guiana in South America.

Its mission is to enable high-speed satellite-based Internet services to users in rural, remote areas and to businesses down home over the next 15 years.

The heaviest ever to be built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the 5,854-kg satellite was launched from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou at 2.07 a.m. IST on Wednesday, December 5. The local time at the launch centre was 5.37 p.m on December 4.


The satellite and the launch fee have cost ISRO ₹1,200 crore.

The liftoff of GSAT-11 and a South Korean co-passenger satellite on European space vehicle Ariane 5 VA246 was watched and cheered by ISRO Chairman K. Sivan.

In his post-launch remarks, Dr. Sivan said, “It will meet most of the requirements of providing broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible village panchayats under Bharat Net which is part of the Digital India initiative.”

Launched in October 2011, Bharat Net (earlier called the National Optical Fibre Network) aims to provide 2.5 lakh village panchayats with e-banking, e-education, e-health and e-governance among others through reliable broadband connectivity.

This, along with GSAT-29 and GSAT-19, smaller satellites already launched from within India, will herald a new era of satellite-driven reliable high-throughput data services. Villages, remote locations and VSAT operators who drive private and public sector data services will be the main gainers.

Enabling in-flight Internet and village web services are the government’s other goals: the latter promises to bridge the urban-rural digital divides

GSAT-11 carries eight transponders for the first time in the complex and efficient Ka frequency band; and 38 transponders in the Ku band. The Ka band enables smart coverage of places with multiple and reusable spot beams.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 9:04:14 PM |

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