India’s most powerful, home-made communications satellite till date was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh by scientists of space agency ISRO. The heavyweight GSLV rocket carries the satellite GSAT-6A, the twin of the GSAT- 6, which was launched three years ago. The 2066-kg satellite, which cost around Rs. 270 crores, will be able to send and receive signals from hand-held devices.
It is expected to be particularly useful for security forces stationed in the remotest corners of the country. The rocket also has a special feature a new engine, which, if successful, will be used for India’s Moon mission.
- The communications satellite GSAT-6A carries one of the largest antennas that has been built by ISRO, said its former chairman Kiran Kumar.
- The antenna, which has a diameter of 6 meters, will open up like an umbrella once the satellite is in orbit.
- The huge size of the antenna gives it more power, which ensures that a two-way exchange of data, voice or video, can be carried out through small hand-held devices from any corner of the country.
- The hand-held devices are still being fine-tuned by the defence development agency DRDO.
- The DRDO hopes to manufacture a number of such devices, which will be given to security personnel deployed in remote areas.
- Around 400 scientists and engineers have been called in to help with the launch at the Satish Dhawan Space Center, located on the coast near Chennai.
- The GSLV rocket, which will carry up the communications satellite, has been dubbed the “Naughty Boy” by ISRO scientists. The 450-plus kilo rocket has had a patchy record, with four of its 11 flights ending in failure.
- Along with the cryogenic engine, the GSLV this time has a second engine: Vikas, which works on liquid propellants.
- The Vikas engine will be used in the second stage to give the rocket a higher thrust.
- In future, the Vikas engine may become the mainstay of Indian rockets and could even be deployed when India hoists the Chandrayaan-2 mission.