GSLV Successfully Launches India’s Latest Communication Satellite GSAT-6
India: Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle has successfully deployed a communications satellite Thursday, with the rocket’s ninth flight lofting the GSAT-6 spacecraft. The launch was on schedule at 16:52 local time (11:22 UTC) with the launch taking place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island.
The payload of Thursday’s launch, GSAT-6, is a 2,117-kilogram (4,667 lb) communications satellite constructed by ISRO around the I-2K satellite bus.
Designed for nine to twelve years of service, the satellite carries an 80-centimetre (2.6 ft) C-band antenna for providing a single fixed beam and a six metre (16-foot) deployable antenna that will facilitate five S-band spot beams. Electrical power comes from a pair of solar arrays generating 3.1 kilowatts for the spacecraft’s systems.
The GSLV that deployed GSAT-6 was a Mark II vehicle, featuring India’s indigenous cryogenic upper stage in place of the Russian-engined version used on the Mark I.
Thursday’s launch was the third flight of the Mark II GSLV, whose maiden flight was the unsuccessful attempt to orbit GSAT-4 in 2010, but which has achieved success with the more recent launch of GSAT-14 in 2014. The serial number of the rocket which will be used for the GSAT-6 mission is GSLV-D6.
India’s third orbital launch of 2015 – following PSLV missions in March and July – Thursday’s launch was the first and only planned GSLV launch of 2015.
The rocket is next expected to fly in 2016 carrying the GSAT-9 spacecraft. Before then ISRO will launch several Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles, with the smaller rocket’s next launch currently slated to carry the AstroSat-1 astronomy spacecraft and several smaller payloads at the end of September.