INSAT-3E expires well before its actual built life

Communications satellite INSAT-3E completed its life even before its expected time and and has become non-operational. Actually, INSAT 3E was built to last 15 years but, as it ran out of on-board oxidizer, it could only last for 10.5 years in orbit. In a short span of time, it will be moved to a graveyard orbit.

The 3rd Generation satellite was launched in September 2003 with 36 transponders out of which 24 C- are band and 12 are extended C- band transponders. Since 2009, only 25 out of 36 transponders were operational.

On-board oxidizer along with fuel, keeps a satellite Earth-locked (or fixed over India) and runs its everyday operations.

[icon name=”icon-info-sign”]INSAT 3E

Defunct communication satellite built by ISRO, 4th satellite in the INSAT-3 series of ISRO.

  • Mission duration: 10 years, 5 months, 5 days
  • Launch date: September 27, 2003 from Kourou, French Guyana
  • Regime: Geostationary (till 2014)
  • Disposal: Moved to a graveyard orbit

Services provided by INSAT 3E:

  • Television
  • VSAT
  • Communication
  • Tele-education providing education to the poor and needy
  • Tele-medicine administering medical services from the metros to villages and remote areas

[icon name=”icon-question-sign”]What is a Graveyard Orbit?

A Graveyard Orbit (Junk orbit or Disposal Orbit), is a super-synchronous orbit that where spacecraft are deliberately positioned at the end of their operational life. A Graveyard Orbit lies considerably over the synchronous orbit. For satellites in geostationary orbit and geosynchronous orbits, the Graveyard Orbit is a few hundred km over the operational orbit.

[icon name=”icon-question-sign”]Why Satellites are moved to the Graveyard Orbit?

Satellites are moved to the Graveyard Orbit in order to lower the probability of their collision with operational space-crafts and of the generation of extra space debris (known as Kessler Syndrome). If the alteration in velocity needed to execute a de-orbit maneuver is too high, then a Graveyard Orbit is utilized.

Actually, De-orbiting a geostationary satellite requires a delta-v of approximately 1,500 m/s (4,900 ft/s), while re-orbiting the satellite to a Graveyard Orbit needs approximately 11 m/s (36 ft/s). So, it is easier to re-orbit a Satellite into Graveyard Orbit than de-orbiting it.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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