The European space agency Arianespace opened its 2020 space missions account with a successful dual satellite launch – India’s communication satellite GSAT-30 and Eutelsat Konnect – into geo-stationary transfer orbit on Friday early hours with its heavy lift of Ariane 5 rocket.
The Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the spaceport in French Guiana.
The 3,357 kg GSAT-30 was produced by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Curiously, even though India has its own rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV-Mk III) with a carrying capacity of four tonne, India used Arianespace to put into orbit its GSAT-30 weighing about 3.3 tonne.
The GSAT-30 will provide high-quality television, telecommunication and broadcasting services ensuring continuity of service for INSAT 4A satellite.
“This was an excellent start of 2020 with an excellent launch using Ariane 5 – the most reliable launcher, P. Kunhikrishnan, the Director of ISRO’s U.R. Rao Satellite Centre was quoted as saying in the statement.
“On behalf of the ISRO Chairman, I want to thank Arianespace for a wonderful and professional job – both in the preflight preparations and during the launch,” he added.
By operating GSAT-30, ISRO will – once again – use space to help bridge the digital divide in the Indian subcontinent as part of its ambitious space programme.
Meanwhile, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan in a statement said: “GSAT-30 has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands through Ku-band and wide coverage covering Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia through C-band.”
He added: “GSAT-30 will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Television uplinking and Teleport Services, 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.”
The GSAT-30 was the 24th ISRO satellite orbited by Ariane-series launchers, tracing the relationship back to India’s APPLE small experimental communications spacecraft, lofted in 1981 by an Ariane 1 version, said Arianespace.
According to Arianespace, the Friday’s successful launch kicks off its busy launch schedule in 2020, which targets a record mission count – with up to 12 opportunities identified from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana using Ariane 5, Soyuz or Vega; along with the maiden flights of Ariane 6 and Vega C; plus eight more from the cosmodromes at Baikonur and Vostochny.
Arianespace’s next launch – Soyuz Flight ST27, scheduled for early February – will orbit OneWeb constellation satellites from Baikonur.
This is to be followed by another February mission – Ariane 5’s Flight VA252 from French Guiana – carrying JCSAT-17 for SKY Perfect JSAT and GEOKOMPSAT 2B for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).