ISRO Loses Contact with its Communications Satellite

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In what seems to be a blow for ISRO’s prestigious space programme, the space research organisation has lost contact with the GSAT-6A satellite which was successfully launched on 29th of this March.

The GSAT was bound to be an efficient system to further ground communication system for both defence and civil applications.

The last contact with the satellite was made on Saturday at around 11 am IST and the 2,066 kg and Rs. 270 crore communications satellite has ever since failed to establish a contact with the space agency.

After many quoting that this is a bad day for Indian space science with ISRO losing contact with its communication satellite GSAT-6A, ISRO chairman Sivan still hopes that the communication link can be re-established and the satellite can be revived. However, sources say that the chances of re-establishing the link are very bleak.

This is the second such failure for ISRO in seven months. In 2017, the organisation has experienced a severe blow when the heat shield of IRNSS-1H – the country’s first privately-build satellite also failed to separate itself from the space ship and remains a space junk.

An inquiry committee has been immediately appointed to submit detailed reports on what went wrong. The committee is headed by Prem Shanker Goel who is a well-known space scientist and was also chairman for ISRO’s Spacecraft System Advisory Board.

The initial launch stages of the communications satellite were all near perfect. It had a planned mission life of over 10 years.  The GSAT-6A was successfully launched on March 29 from the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre and the satellite’s apogee motor engine was also successfully fired on Saturday and Sunday to raise its orbit and the communication was lost when ISRO tried to perform the third and final firing scheduled for Sunday.

ISRO’s chairman informed that the satellite’s telemetry was lost within minutes of the second firing on Saturday. He informed that there were such incidents earlier too in some missions and further added that losing contact for such a long time is the first time. He said that the satellite is still in a safe mode and intact based on preliminary data.

When asked if the incident will delay any forthcoming launches, Mr. Sivan said that ISRO has planned about 10 launches in the coming nine months and all the launchings will go as planned. The next launch is of PSLV carrying IRNSS-1I which is scheduled in just over two weeks.