India loses contact with GSAT-6A satellite

IANS . Bengaluru | Update:

In this file photo taken on March 29, 2018, shows Indian onlookers watching as the Indian Space Research Organisation`s (ISRO) GSAT-6A communications satellite launches on the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08) from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Photo : AFPIn a setback for its space programme, India on Sunday said it lost contact with its communication satellite GSAT-6A, which was launched on board the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) on March 29.

"After the successful long-duration firings, the communication from the satellite was lost when it (satellite) was on course for the final firing (to place the satellite in its final geostationary orbit), scheduled for April 1 (Sunday)," the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement.

The satellite was to be placed in its intended orbit 36,000 km above ground level after manoeuvres from the space agency's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka, about 180 km from Bengaluru.

"Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite," said the statement.

After a copybook launch from ISRO's spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, the GSLV-MkII had deployed the satellite in a geosynchronous transfer orbit on March 29 after which it had to be placed in its final geostationary orbit through three orbit raising manoeuvres.

Only after the communication link is re-established, the satellite can be placed in its intended orbit.

With a life span of 10 years, the satellite weighing over 2,000 kg was meant to provide platform for developing technologies that could be useful in satellite based mobile communication applications.

Complementing the GSAT-6 that was launched earlier in 2015, the GSAT-6A was to help provide the technologies for point-to-point communication.

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