ISRO, the Indian space agency has lost contact with its GSAT-6A satellite, two days after its perfect launch. ISRO Chairman K. Sivan on Sunday said the agency is working overnight to restore the link and put the satellite in its intended orbit soon.
The 2,000kg satellite, costing the agency over Rs 240 crore was to be placed in its intended orbit 36,000 km above ground level after three orbit-raising manoeuvres from the Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan near Bangalore.
The GSAT-6A was to provide platform for satellite based mobile communication applications with a lifespan of about 10 years. It was to complement 2015 satellite the GSAT-6.
“The first two manoeuvres had worked as they were intended to but as the third manoeuvre was going to be fired, the satellite stopped responding. We are going through the data meticulously to establish a link with the satellite,” said Sivan, who took charge as the space agency’s chief in January.
After its successful launch on March 29 at 16:56 Hrs (IST), the first orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A Satellite was successfully carried out by LAM Engine firing for 2188 sec from 09:22hr IST on March 30, 2018, reported ISRO earlier.
The successful Orbit Determination results from this LAM firing changed the GSAT-6A’s apogee X perigee height to 36412 km X 5054 km, with an inclination at 11.93 degrees. Its orbital period was reported to be 12 hours and 45 minutes.
It was not unusual for a spacecraft to go into safe mode and remian incommunicado due to weather disturbances but it should have returned to normal mode once the ground control revives it, which did not happen despite two days already lost in the process. If not insured, it is likely to deal another dent in ISRO’s budget planning.
GSLV-F08 is the 12th flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and Sixth flight with indigenous Cryogenic Stage. The Launch of GSLV-F08 carrying GSAT-6A took place from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) in Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
In August last year, India’s backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H on board PSLV-C39 ended in a failure after a perfect launch but due to non-separation of its heat shield during the final leg of the launch sequence.