The launch of GSAT-10, India’s telecommunication satellite has now been pushed to a later date, after the Ariane 5 vehicle developed a “small snag” at the European launch pad in French Guiana, reports The Hindu. GSAT-10, which was originally scheduled for a September 22 launch, will now be launched on September 29. As per the report, ISRO Chairman Dr. K. Radhakrishnan noted that Arianespace personnel spotted a small snag in the upper part of the rocket. “One gram of the launcher was unaccounted for, and they were ascertaining whether dust particles of that weight had got inside,” the report added. Dr. Radhakrishnan was further quoted as saying, “We will get a clear picture on the situation from the European launch agency Arianespace on September 19.”
Ariane 5 vehicle developed a small snag (Image credit: Getty Images)
Last month, we first reported about the launch of the GSAT-10 satellite in September. ISRO had stated that its motive behind launching communication satellite GSAT-10 was to ''augment its communication transponder capacity – automatic receivers and transmitters for communication and broadcast of signals''.
The GSAT-10 satellite will fly with a European co-passenger, ASTRA-2F, on Ariane-5 ECA.
The GSAT-10 is also the heaviest satellite that ISRO has built, at a whopping 3400kg. However, ISRO is still making changes to its own medium-lift rocket, the GSLV, which can put “such a satellite in a geo-synchronous orbit at 36,000 km.”
The report by Hindu added, “The indigenous cryogenic stage of the GSLV (called GSLV-MkII) had completed many tests in the past few months, and was scheduled for launch in January-February 2013, Dr. Radhakrishnan said. Labelled as GSLV-D5, it would put in orbit GSAT-14, a communications satellite. GSAT-14 would be smaller than the regular ones and would carry 12 transponders in the C- and Ku- bands.”
Reports last month had also indicated that India is to launch three satellites in September, and two more before the year ends. The Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), P.S. Veeraraghavan said that they will launch SPOT-6, a French satellite and a small Japanese satellite on board PSLV-C21 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket this month. Veeraraghavan had also said that SPOT-6 will be in India soon, while the Japanese satellite was already at ISRO’s launch centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
By December this year, or January next year, ISRO is planning to launch GSAT-14, a small communication satellite. GSAT-14 is being heralded as the replacement for India’s education satellite Edusat. For GSAT-14, heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) will be used. As per reports, the spacecraft will carry with it Ka band beacons. These have been planned to be used to conduct studies pertaining to rain and atmospheric effects on Ka band satellite communication links in the Indian region.