ISRO’s ‘Big Bird’, heaviest communication satellite launched into space from French Guiana

Bengaluru: ISRO( Indian Space Research Organisation)’s GSAT-11 satellite also called the “Big Bird ” was successfully launched into space on Wednesday from the Spaceport in French Guiana. The satellite, launched at 2.07 am (IST), will help provide satellite-based internet to remote places where cable-based internet cannot reach.

The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-246 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana carrying India’s GSAT-11 and South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A satellites, as scheduled. Ariane 5 is one of three launch vehicles operated by Arianespace along with Soyuz and Vega, said a press released from ISRO.

After a 30-min flight, GSAT-11 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.  The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one, said the press release.

This launch was the second attempt after ISRO’s first bid failed in May earlier this year and was placed into space on its 102 nd flight, the Ariane 5 rocket. According to ISRO, the satellite is healthy after the launch.

“GSAT-11 is the next generation high throughput communication satellite that will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications,” Dr K Sivan, ISRO chief said.

The “Big Bird” has cost about Rs. 600 crore. The satellite, weighing 5,854 kg, is the heaviest Indian-made equipment that the agency put into its orbit. The ariane-5 heavyweight rocket was hired from Arianespace by ISRO. The satellite is expected to have a life span of 15 years.

The satellite internet, which the GSAT-11 will aid in giving internet connectivity in flights in India.

India has hired the French Ariane-5 rocket as it can heavy payload into orbit. India’s own geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle MK iii or GSLV MK iii can haul satellites that weighs upto 4 tons.

Along with its three siblings, GSAT-19, GSAT-29 and GSAT-20, the satellite will be a “game changer for providing internet access and data communications for India and will aid the digital India program. Dr Sivan adds.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his joy on ISRO’s successful mission, “India is proud of our scientists, who keep innovating and setting high standards of scale, achievements and succcess. Their remarkable work inspires every Indian.”

(With inputs from PTI)