Satellites Current Affairs - 2020

India’s communication satellite GSAT-18 successfully launched from French Guiana

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.

ISRO successfully launches IRNSS-1F satellite

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched India’s sixth navigation Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) 1F satellite.

It was launched by ISRO’s workhorse satellite launch vehicle, PSLV-C32 rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It was PLSV’s 34th mission.

Key facts

  • IRNSS 1F satellite is part of the space segment satellites of the IRNSS system that has total constellation of seven satellites. It has a 12 year mission life.
  • Dimensions of IRNSS-1F:  It is 44.4 metre tall and has a liftoff mass of 1,425 kg.
  • Orbit: It will be located in the Geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) in the space with a 20,657 km apogee (farthest point to Earth) and 284 km perigee (nearest point to Earth).
  • Payloads: It equipped with two types of payloads viz. navigation payload and ranging devices. The navigation payload will be mainly used to transmit navigation service signals to the users.
  • The ranging payload consists of a C-band transponder that will facilitate accurate determination of the range of the satellite.

About IRNSS System

  • IRNSS System consists of constellation of seven satellites of which three are geostationary and four are non-geostationary.
  • 4 Geosynchronous satellites: They will be orbiting in pairs in two inclined geosynchronous orbits. When observed from the ground, these 2 pairs of satellites will appear to travel in figures of ‘8’.
  • 3 geostationary satellites: They will be placed in the geostationary orbit over the equator. They match the Earth’s rotation and shall remain at a fixed position in the sky.
  • Services: This satellite system aims to provide real-time data on the position of objects to aid road, air and maritime traffic. It will also provide mapping and tracking services.
  • It would provide two types of services (i) Restricted Service (RS): an encrypted service provided to authorised users (ii) Standard Positioning Service (SPS): to all users.
  • Applications: (i) Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation (ii) Disaster Management. (iii) Vehicle tracking and fleet management. (iv) Integration with mobile phones. (v) Precise Timing. (vi)Mapping and Geodetic data capture. (vii) Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers. (viii) Visual and voice navigation for drivers.

Earlier the five satellites of the series namely IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E were launched in July 2013, April 2014, October 2014, March 2015 and January 2016 respectively.

Note: IRNSS system is similar to other satellite navigation systems like US GPS (Global Positioning System), Russia’s Glonass, Japan’s Quasi Zenith, Europe’s Galileo and China’s Beidou.