CHENNAI: GSAT-17, India’s advanced communication satellite, would be the ‘second last’ mission scheduled to be executed from foreign soil. Weighing 3,477 kg, the GSAT-17 is set to lift off onboard Ariane-5 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana at 2.29 am on Thursday. A S Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told Express that after Thursday’s launch, Arianespace will be launching GSAT-11, which weighs about 5,800 kg, sometime later this year.
“In all probability, GSAT-11 will be the last satellite that is going to be launched using a foreign launcher. We haven’t signed anything thereafter and there would be no necessity,” he said. Kumar, who will be closely monitoring the GSAT-17 launch sitting at ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka, said another developmental flight of GSLV MkIII would be enough to make it fully operational. “The next flight of GSLV MkIII-D2 is planned sometime in February and with every launch we will be scaling-up the payload carrying capability.
The GSLV MkIII-D2 mission will carry four tonne class satellite and later will boost it to six tonnes and eight tonnes,” he explained.
Simultaneously, work on the development of electric propulsion systems has been beefed-up. The primary advantage of the electric propulsion system is that it will drastically reduce the mass of the satellite. Current satellites use chemical propulsion systems in which fuel constitutes the major part of the satellite. For instance, the 5.8 tonne GSAT-11 that is being launched using Ariane can be within four tonnes without compromising on the payload functionality.
“We had put one electric propulsion engine in GSAT-9 and we have successfully tested that. In future also, we will have many more electric propulsion systems. So, on the one hand, we will be optimising GSLV payload capacity and introduce electric propulsion systems, which should take care of our requirements,” Kumar said.
GSAT-17 ready for flight
- Mission: Communication services, data relay and search & rescue services
- Mass 3,477 Kg at lift-off Stabilisation
- 3 axis Platform
- Standard 1-3K Payload
- Carrying C, Extended C, S-Band payloads along with DRT and SAS & R payloads.
- Design life 15 years
- Coverage area India, Middle East and South Asia
Action packed June
For the first time ever, ISRO is set to pull off three major launches in one month.
- June 5: ISRO had launched its most powerful and heaviest GSLV MkIII rocket carrying advanced communication satellite GSAT-19.
- June 23: PSLV-C38 successfully launched 31 satellites in a single flight
- June 29: GSAT-17 satellite launch