Launch of GSAT-11 postponed as ISRO seeks additional technical checks
Weeks after ISRO's communication satellite with military applications GSAT-6A went missing, the space agency has postponed the high-profile launch of its advanced communication satellite GSAT-11, the heaviest made in India, from Kourou, French Guiana, for additional technical checks. GSAT-11, with a lift-off mass over 5,700 kg, was initially planned to ride piggyback with co-passengers on Ariane space rocket on its mission on May 25.
"The launch of GSAT-11 scheduled during May 2018 from Kourou, French Guiana is rescheduled. The revised launch date will be communicated subsequently," the Bengaluru-headquartered Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said in a brief statement. The space agency gave no reason for rescheduling the launch.
However, in a statement on its website, European space transporter Arianespace said the Ariane 5 launch numbered VA243 had been postponed due to additional technical checks the satellite needs to undergo. It said the Ariane 5 launch was initially planned for May 25. Arianespace was also scheduled to put into space Azerspace-2/Intelsat-38 along with GSAT-11, which is designed to provide 12 Gbps of capacity.
GSAT-11 had arrived at the European spaceport in French Guiana in South America on March 30. GSAT-11 is a multi-beam high throughput communication satellite operating in Ka and Ku-bands employing a new bus. It provides 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 gateway beams in Ka-band, said ISRO. The payload includes Ka x Ku-band forward link transponders and Ku x Ka-band return link transponders.
ISRO had recently reported it had lost contact with GSAT-6A, which was launched on March 29, and was making efforts to link with it. The contact with GSAT-6A was snapped when ISRO scientists attempted to ignite the engine in the third and final move to put the satellite in its desired location after its textbook launch from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.