BENGALURU: ISRO chairman K Sivan has defended the decision of procuring launches for GSAT-30 and 31 from the French firm Arianespace, saying it was essential for the “life of the satellite” launched. Responding to a question on the need for procured launches when ISRO has launch capabilities, he said that launching GSAT-30 using GSLV Mk II would ensure a life of only three years, whereas the launcher by Arianespace will provide the satellite with a lifespan of 15 years.
“Both GSAT-30 and 31 are replacement satellites and were planned to be launched under our launch mission. The updated version of GSLV Mk II was to be used for the launch. But the launcher is not available as some technical issues are yet to be resolved. ISRO could not make use of its GSLV Mk III for launching the satellites because it has been diverted for launching Chandrayaan-2,” he said.
A source said, “ISRO officials have justified the use of Arianespace launchers saying that Mk II has uprating issues and Mk III launcher has been set aside for Chandrayaan-2. Despite claims that Mk III will be used for the lunar mission, it should be noted that the mission was postponed twice due to unexplained delays on ISRO’s part.”
TNIE had recently reported that ISRO was forced to procure two launches from Arianespace after ISRO missed the May window to launch GSAT-11. Arianespace, which had the contract to launch the satellite, had urged ISRO to provide the contract for two more launches in exchange for another early date of November 30 for GSAT-11 launch.