Indian satellite’s orbit raised

Bangalore, May 22: The first critical manoeuvre of raising the position of India’s advanced communication satellite GSAT-8 in the geo-synchronous transfer orbit was carried out successfully early Sunday by the master control facility (MCF) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

‘The orbit-raising of the 1,426 kg (dry mass) of GSAT-8 was conducted in the wee hours by firing the 440 Newton liquid apogee onboard the spacecraft for 95 minutes from MCF at Hassan in Karnataka (about 180 km from here),’ an ISRO statement said here.

Following the manoeuvre, the orbit of the satellite has been raised to 15,786 km at its closest point to earth (perigee) and 35,768 km at its farthest point (apogee).

‘The inclination of the orbit along the equatorial plane has been reduced 0.5 degree from 2.5 degree when entering the orbit. The satellite will be moving in the present elliptical orbit in 15 hours and 56 minutes,’ the statement noted.

The Rs.260-crore GSAT-8 was launched onboard Ariane-V rocket of Arianespace early Saturday from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana off the South American coast and placed in the intended geo-synchronous orbit.

‘All systems onboard the satellite are normal,’ the statement added.

The satellite will be gradually put into the 36,000 km geosynchronous orbit over the next couple of days and its antenna and solar panels will be deployed.

The cuboid-shaped spacecraft has 24 high-power Ku-band transponders as its payload for direct-to-home (DTH) services from July 1 by state-run and private broadcasters after its induction into the Indian satellite (INSAT) system.

Along with the satellite, a two-channel global positioning system (GPS)-aided geo augmented navigation (Gagan) payload will operate in L1 and L5 bands when activated, according to the statement.

The satellite will be positioned at 55 degree east longitude and co-located with the INSAT-3E satellite.

The designed in-orbit mission life of the satellite is 12 years.

The 24 Ku-band transponders will augment the capacity in the INSAT system.

IANS