The GSAT-11 is getting ready to be shipped to Kourou in French Guiana, South America, to be strapped on to the French Ariane 5 rocket in a few weeks for launch
The heaviest satellite that India has ever made is also a springboard for the country to fully realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India programme. Weighing six tonnes or the combined weight of six sedans, the heavyweight communications satellite GSAT-11 will usher in satellite-based Internet services for the first time, a boon for rural India.
Satellite-based Internet will be revolutionary for India’s telecom sector, industry analysts say.
The satellite is getting ready to be shipped to Kourou in French Guiana, South America, to be strapped on to the French Ariane 5 rocket in a few weeks for launch.
The Rs. 500 crore satellite is so massive that each solar panel is over four metres long, equivalent to the size of a room with a tall ceiling.
“This is our effort of providing a new capability to the country… Satellite-based Internet is only an indicator. We need connectivity from the Digital India perspective, especially to gram panchayat, talukas and the security forces,” space agency ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar told NDTV.
The GSAT-11 is equivalent to the combined power of almost all communications satellite sent into orbit by India. This single bird is like a constellation of 30 of the classical orbiting satellites.
India hired the French Ariane-5 rocket because the powerful rocket can carry the heavy satellite into orbit.
In what was seen as a big embarrassment to the Indian Space Research Organisation, the 41st mission of the PSLV, which carried India’s first satellite made by the private sector, failed on August 31 last year as the satellite’s protective heat shield did not drop off. A group of scientists and experts were investigating what went wrong.
ISRO has fixed the problem in the heat shield that failed to open during the August launch, killing the satellite in space. The upcoming mission will see satellites from the US and Finland, among others, fly into space.