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ISRO Launches GSAT 6-A Communications Satellite, Big Boost for Armed Forces and Moon Mission

The 2066-kg satellite, which cost around Rs. 270 crore, is expected to be particularly useful for security forces stationed in remote corners of the country as it will be able to send and receive signals from hand-held devices.

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Updated:March 29, 2018, 5:32 PM IST
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ISRO Launches GSAT 6-A Communications Satellite, Big Boost for Armed Forces and Moon Mission
File photo of the The GSLV-F08 rocket. (Source: ISRO)
Indian Space Research Organisation’s GSLV-F08 mission carrying the GSAT-6A communication satellite blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport on Thursday. The communication satellite was successfully placed into a geosynchronous transfer orbit at an altitude of around 35,900km.

The 2,140-kg satellite, which cost around Rs. 270 crore, is expected to be particularly useful for security forces stationed in remote corners of the country as it will be able to send and receive signals from hand-held devices. The rocket also has a new engine will ISRO hopes to used for its Moon mission.

The GSLV-F08 rocket saddled with the passenger satellite in its payload fairing blasted off from the second launch pad at 4.56 pm. Leaving behind plumes of smoke, the 49.1 metre tall GSLV soared majestically into clear skies.

GSAT-6A is similar to GSAT-6, which was launched in 2015. It is a homemade high power S-band communication satellite built on I-2K satellite bus with a mission life of about ten years. The two rockets in tandem will provide signals that that would permit two-way exchange of data even from very remote locations.

The 6-A satellite will have a 6m wide unfurlable antenna, thrice the size of the antenna generally used by ISRO satellites. This will enable mobile communication from anywhere through hand-held ground terminals.

This would be a shot in the arm for the Indian armed forces as the handheld devices have been fine-tuned by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The organization hopes to deploy a large number of these, especially for security personnel in Maoist-hit areas.

GSLV-F08 also comes with notable improvements like induction of High Thrust Vikas Engine, electromechanical actuation system in place of electro-hydraulic actuation system, which ISRO hopes to deploy for the lunar mission – Chandrayaan – 2, which is scheduled for October this year.

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