French Guiana Current Affairs
Morocco successfully launched its second earth observation satellite named Mohammed VI-B on board of Arianespace Vega rocket from launch pad at Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana in South America. It will be placed at same orbit as its twin satellite Mohammed 6-A, the first Moroccan satellite launched in November 2017 also on Vega rocket. The launch completes Morocco’s two-satellite constellation for Earth observation.
The 1,100-kilogram satellite was developed by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Airbus Defence and Space. Airbus had built platform of satellite while Thales Alenia Space supplied payload and ground segment for image processing. It will be mainly used for mapping, land surveying, agricultural monitoring, prevention and management of natural disasters, monitoring changes in the environment and desertification as well as border and coastal surveillance.
It is multinational company founded in 1980. It is world’s first commercial launch service provider. It has its headquarters in Courcouronnes, Essonne, France. It offers a number of different launch vehicles: heavy-lift Ariane 5 for dual launches to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), Soyuz-2 as medium-lift alternative, and solid-fueled Vega for lighter payloads. As of May 2017, Arianespace has launched more than 550 satellites in 254 launches over 34 years. It uses Guiana Space Center in French Guiana as its main launch site. ISRO uses Arianespace’s services for launching its heavy satellites. Arianespace’s Vega is a four-stage rocket designed by Arianespace launch small commercial and science satellites into orbit. The rocket is 98 feet (30 meters) tall and can launch payloads of up to 2,500 kilograms (5,511 pounds) into orbit.
India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-18 was successfully launched from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
The satellite was launched on board of heavy duty Ariane-5 VA-231 rocket of Arianespace. It was successfully injected into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
GSAT-18 was the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by the European space agency and overall 280th mission of the Arianespace rocket launcher family.
Key Features of GSAT-18
- GSAT-18 is indigenously built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It weighs around 3,404 kgs at lift-off. It has a mission life of about 15 years.
- It carries 48 communication transponders including Ku-band beacon for accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite.
- These transponders will provide services in Upper Extended C-band, Normal C-band and Ku-bands of the frequency spectrum.
- GSAT-18 will provide services like television, telecommunication, VSAT and digital satellite news gathering.
- The satellite will play important role in strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecommunication satellites.
- It will also enable continuity of vital communication services by replacing ageing satellites of ISRO. Master Control Facility (MCF) of ISRO at Hassan, Karnataka will control the satellite.