India launches latest communication satellite GSAT-31 onboard European launch vehicle

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 06, 2019 14:14 hrs
ISRO GSAT 29 (Image Courtesy: isro)

Chennai: India's latest communication satellite GSAT-31 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana at 2:31 am (Indian Standard Time) on Wednesday.

Blasting off from Kourou Launch Base at Kouro, the Ariane-5 vehicle-injected GSAT-31 into the orbit in a flawless flight lasting about 42 minutes.

Weighing about 2,535 kg, the GSAT-31 will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites.

GSAT-31 derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series, the space agency said, adding it will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands.

Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel tweeted: "2019 is off to a roaring start for #Arianespace! Flight #VA247, carrying Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 and GSAT-31, is a confirmed success that underscores our leadership position in the geostationary launch market. @KACST #HellasSat @ISRO @LockheedMartin."

Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel said, "GSAT-31 was the 23rd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers, tracing the relationship back to India’s APPLE small experimental communications spacecraft, lofted in 1981 by an Ariane 1 version."

“Arianespace is honoured ISRO has entrusted Ariane 5 for two launches back-to-back, with the last Ariane 5 of 2018 launching GSAT-11, and today the first one of the year 2019, which orbited GSAT-31!” Arianespace CEO added.

“GSAT-31 has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage.  The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands” ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said.

GSAT-31 is India's 40th communication satellite which is configured on ISRO's enhanced 'I-2K Bus', utilising the maximum "bus capabilities" of this type.

This satellite will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit, ISRO said.

With a mission life of around 15 years, GSAT-31 will be used for supporting VSAT networks, Television uplinks, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), DTH-television services, cellular backhaul connectivity and many such applications.

ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said, “GSAT-31 will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.”

It also provides wide beam coverage to facilitate communication over the large oceanic region comprising large parts of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, using a wideband transponder.

According to ISRO, two Ku-band beacon downlink signals are transmitted for ground tracking purpose.

Along with GSAT-31, the Ariane 5 vehicle (Flight VA-247) also carried Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 satellites.

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