The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said Sunday, April 1, that it has lost contact with communication satellite GSAT-6A. The satellite was launched Thursday, March 29, at 4.56 pm from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
After the news broke, ISRO said that it was trying to re-establish contact with the satellite. And now ISRO chief K Sivan has said that losing contact with a satellite is a "common phenomenon" and the organization still hopes to get back in contact with the GSAT-6A.
"Our team is trying to re-establish the communication link with the satellite. Though the delinking of signal from a satellite is a common phenomenon, this time the signal delinking is happening for a longer duration," Sivan told the Times of India.
Some reports earlier also said that the there was a power failure in the satellite's system and Sivan noted that even if this was the case, backup power like solar power can be used once ISRO is able to re-establish contact with the GSAT-6A.
"Gsat-6A is not out of control and we still hope we can reestablish contact with the satellite," the ISRO chief added. "We know the approximate location of the satellite in space by using other satellites and other resources."
If the mission works out as per ISRO's plan, it will be a major boost to the Indian armed forces, as it will help with the communication facilities available in remote areas and regions with tough terrain.
GSLV-F08 / GSAT-6A Mission Fact File
- The satellite was launched by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
- The GSLV rocker weighs 415.6 tonnes and is 49.1 meters tall.
- The GSAT-6A satellite, which costs about Rs 270 crore, was put into orbit about 17 minutes after the launch.
- ISRO said that the GSAT-6A satellite is similar to GSAT-6 but comes with a few improvements.
- The organization said that the two improvements include the use of the high thrust Vikas engine and an electromechanical actuation system
- ISRO chairman K Sivan also told IANS that the communication satellite's Thursday launch will pave the way for another navigation satellite.
- The next launch has been planned for the next fiscal.
Since the Thursday launch, ISRO had remained mum on the GSAT-6A, forcing many to wonder why it had not sent out updates regarding the satellite. However, the organization Sunday broke its silence and said that it has lost contact with the satellite.
"The second orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A satellite has been successfully carried out by LAM Engine firing for about 53 minutes on March 31, 2018 in the morning. After a successful long duration firings, when the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and final firing, scheduled for April 1, 2018, communication from the satellite was lost. Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite," ISRO said.
ISRO is also gearing up to launch India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 in October. While the mission was supposed to take off in April, ISRO said that some tests were still pending and that the mission was extremely exhaustive.