The European space agency Arianespace opened its 2020 space missions account with a successful dual satellite launch – India’s communication satellite GSAT-30 and Eutelsat Konnect – into geo-stationary transfer orbit on Friday early hours with its heavy lift of Ariane 5 rocket.
The Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the spaceport in French Guiana. The 3,357 kg GSAT-30 was produced by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Curiously, even though India has its own rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV-Mk III) with a carrying capacity of four tonne, India used Arianespace to put into orbit its GSAT-30 weighing about 3.3 tonne. The GSAT-30 will provide high-quality television, telecommunication and broadcasting services ensuring continuity of service for INSAT 4A satellite.
“This was an excellent start of 2020 with an excellent launch using Ariane 5 – the most reliable launcher, P. Kunhikrishnan, the Director of ISRO’s U.R. Rao Satellite Centre was quoted as saying in the statement. “On behalf of the ISRO Chairman, I want to thank Arianespace for a wonderful and professional job – both in the preflight preparations and during the launch.”
By operating GSAT-30, ISRO will – once again – use space to help bridge the digital divide in the Indian subcontinent as part of its ambitious space program.
Recently, ISRO confirmed about the Chandrayaan 3 mission. India’s last mission to the moon wasn’t exactly the success. However, the organization revealed that another attempt to reach the moon in the form of Chandrayaan 3 is in the works. Further, the new mission will cost Rs 6.51 billion.
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The Chandrayaan 3 will cost lesser than the Chandrayaan 2 which was already the cheapest lunar mission in history. This is possible because of successful achievements made by the Chandrayaan 2 mission. The mission’s orbiter is still circling the lunar surface at 100 kilometers altitude. Further, it has a lifespan of up to seven years. Hence, the new mission will only be sending a rover and a lander to the moon.
Written with inputs from IANS