A day after GSAT-6A, the country’s newest communication satellite lost communication with earth, officials of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Sunday that they were working to restore the link with it.
The silence is initially believed to have been caused by a power glitch or a short circuit on the satellite. The spacecraft, launched on March 29, was meant to support military communications in hostile regions using handy ground terminals. Built to last 10-12 years, it was to be a standby for its three-year-old replica GSAT-6.
GSAT 6A satellite was termed a step forward for ISRO in its indigenous communication satellites programme.
The GSLV F08, which carried the 6A satellite, was sent from the second launch pad in Sriharikota. This was the 12th GSLV flight and the sixth flight with the Cryogenic Upper Stage. This satellite is to provide mobile communication to India through multi-beam coverage.
The GSAT 6A has been in the news before, but for the Antrix-Devas deal. Under the deal, Antrix, ISRO’s commercial arm, was to provide 70 MHz of the scarce S-Band wavelength to Devas for its digital multimedia services. This was to be done by leasing 90 percent of the transponders in satellites GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A that are proposed to be launched by ISRO. Devas, in turn, was to pay Antrix a total of $300 million over 12 years.
The agreement was signed on January 28, 2005. Consequently, the Department of Space (DoS) got the Cabinet approval for the building of GSAT-6 at a cost of ₹269 crore and GSAT-6A at a cost of ₹147 crore under the Commission’s delegated powers.
The deal was annulled in 2011 when irregularities were found in the financial management.
Weighing 415.6 tonnes, the GSLV F08 has put the GSAT 6A into orbit 17 minutes and 46 seconds after its launch.