Isro confirms losing contact with communication satellite GSAT-6A – Times of India

BENGALURU: In what is a disappointment for both citizens and the armed forces of the country, the
Indian Space Research Organisation (
Isro) on Saturday

lost contact with the GSAT-6A
, India’s most powerful
communication satellite, in less than 48 hours after it launched it on Thursday. While Isro says it is trying re-establish link, sources attributed the failure to a power system failure.

After the textbook launch onboard GSLV-F08 on Thursday, Isro successfully completed the first orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A Satellite at 9.22am on Friday, which saw the satellite changing its closest and farthest point from earth besides changing its inclination.

The LAM (liquid apogee motor) engine worked perfectly fine, and the first orbit raising manoeuvre was a success, and the satellite reached the right spot as intended, a source said.

The second orbit raising manoeuvre was scheduled for 10.51am on Saturday, and well-placed source said that the operation was also completed with a successful firing of the LAM engine. The agency received data from the satellite for about four minutes after the second orbit raising operation, after which the it went blank, a source said.

Initial analysis points to a power system failure, but Isro has not officially confirmed anything.

After remaining incommunicado the whole of Saturday, Isro, on Sunday said: “The second orbit raising operation of

GSAT-6A satellite
has been successfully carried out by LAM Engine firing for about 53 minutes on March 31, 2018 in the morning. After the successful long duration firings, when the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and the final firing, scheduled for April 1, 2018, communication from the satellite was lost. Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite.”

On Saturday, the agency’s new chairman K Sivan held a marathon meeting with senior scientists through a teleconference, as already reported by TOI.

This was Isro’s first launch after Sivan took charge, even as the mission itself was conceived and developed before his time.

GSAT-6A, is a high power communication satellite which was to have a mission life of about 10 years. It was to provide mobile communication for India with multi-band coverage facility—five beams in S-band and one beam in C-band.

The satellite has a six-metre wide antenna, the biggest used by an Isro communication satellite so far, meant for the S-band communication. This was to enable the satellite to provide mobile communication for the 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.

TOI attempted to get official confirmations from the Isro headquarters, Isro chairman Sivan, Isro Satellite Centre, and the agency’s communications team and other senior scientists. However, none of them denied or confirmed the development, while some scientists who were not directly involved with the project claimed ignorance.

Isro did not put out an official communication after the second orbit raising operation, as is the practice. The agency updates every manoeuvre of the satellite until it reaches its final destination and then gives updates on the health and other activities.

However, in case of the GSAT-6A, the last communication was about the successful completion of the first orbit raising operation on Friday morning.

This is the second mission failure for Isro in six months, with the previous one being the PSLV-C39, a failure in whose heat shield failed to put into orbit Isro’s navigation satellite IRNSS-1H, which is scheduled for a fresh launch later this year.

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