GSAT 6A Current Affairs - 2019
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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lost contact with India’s most powerful communication GSAT-6A satellite in less than 48 hours after it was launched. The loss in contact is believed to have been caused by power system failure or short circuit on the satellite.
The GSAT-6A satellite was to be placed in orbit in three phases after its successful textbook launch on March 29, 2018 onboard of GSLV-F08. ISRO had successfully completed first orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A Satellite on March 30, 2018, which saw satellite changing its closest and farthest point from earth besides changing its inclination. The second orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A was successfully carried out on March 31, 2018, but during the third and final firing scheduled on April 1, 2018, communication with satellite was lost, hours after maintaining uncharacteristic silence on the health of the satellite.
Orbit-raising refers to manoeuvres by which satellite is taken to its final orbit in stages. Each time, a series of thrusters – small engines onboard of satellite that makes alterations in the flight path – is used.
GSAT-6A is high power communication satellite which was to have a mission life of about 10 years. It mandate was to provide mobile communication for India with multi-band coverage facility—five beams in S-band and one beam in C-band. It was India’s most powerful communication satellite ever built.
The satellite had six-metre wide antenna, the biggest used by ISRO communication satellite so far, meant for the S-band communication. This was to enable satellite to provide mobile communication for country through handheld ground terminals, which was not possible earlier as smaller antennas meant larger ground stations. The satellite was also to provide with communication facilities for the armed forces.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched GSAT 6A communication satellite on board of GSLV-F08 rocket from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This was overall 12th GSLV flight (and fifth successful) and sixth flight with indigenously built cryogenic upper stage engine.
GSAT-6A is high power S-band communication satellite with a mission life of about 10 years. It was placed in Geosynchronous orbit of Earth. It weighs 2066 kg and is most powerful home-made communication satellite till date. It is similar to GSAT-6 is a high power S-band communication satellite that was launched back in 2015.
The S-band’s antenna of GSAT-6A was developed by ISRO’s Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad. It also has smaller 0.8-metre antenna for communication in the C band. It will provide mobile communication to India through multi beam coverage facility.
It will also provide platform for developing technologies such as demonstration of S-Band Unfurlable Antenna, handheld ground terminals and network management techniques that could be useful in satellite based mobile communication applications. It will be also designated for military use especially in remotest areas of the country.
Special feature of GSAT-6A: It has 6-metre-wide umbrella-like antenna that will be unfurled in space. The antenna is thrice as broad as antennas generally used in ISRO satellites. It will enable mobile communication from anywhere via hand-held ground terminals. It will require small ground station as regular communication satellites with smaller antenna require much larger ground stations.
S-band is electromagnetic spectrum covering frequencies from 2 to 4 gigahertz (GHz). It is very useful and is used globally for 4G service and is extremely valuable for mobile broadband services. It crosses conventional boundary between Super High Frequency (SHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) bands at 3.0 GHz.
Update: On April 1, 2018, ISRO confirmed that it had lost contact satellite GSAT-6A in the aftermath of second orbit-raising exercise.