ISRO's communication satellites to catapult India in high-speed internet era
India has established itself as one of the biggest players in the space launch market by launching over a hundred satellites in a single mission. But when it comes to its own communication infrastructure, India lags many American, European and even Asian countries in terms of internet speed.
But that could soon change soon.
The Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO is all set to launch three communication satellites in the next 18 months.
The first launch could be in the first week of June when Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III, India's most powerful launch vehicle, goes into the space carrying the heaviest Indian communication satellite.
ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar, while talking to a newspaper, said the three satellites will increase internet speed and connectivity and will cover the entire country.
"We will launch three communication satellites. GSAT-19 in June and GSAT-11 and GSAT-20 thereafter. GSAT-19 will be launched by GSLVMk III, ISRO's next-generation launch vehicle boosted by an indigenous cryogenic engine that is capable of carrying a four-tonne satellite to the geosynchronous transfer orbit. These satellites will use multiple spot beams that will increase internet speed and connectivity. These multiple spot beams will cover the entire country," Kumar was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Multiple spot beams are special kinds of transponder that operate on a high frequency.
"Preparations are going on in full swing...And right now, the cryogenic stage (is) also integrated with the vehicle. The satellite is also getting prepared," Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director K Sivan told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.
"Maybe in a week's time, we will be able to assemble the satellite along with the vehicle. We are targeting the launch in the first week of June," he said. However, Sivan said the exact date for the launch of GSLV Mark III is yet to be finalised.
With GSLV Mark-III, seen as a "game-changer" mission in space technology, the country can have indigenous launches of bigger satellites without depending on foreign countries. It can put satellites weighing upto four tonnes in space, double the weight that the current GSLV-Mark-II can lift.
GSLV Mark-III will also enable Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch from India heavier communication spacecraft to geostationary orbits of 36,000 km. Because of the absence of a powerful launcher, the space agency currently launches satellites above two tonnes on European rockets for a high cost.
GSLV Mark-III would blast off with the communications satellite – GSAT-19, weighing more than 3.2 tonnes.
"It's a very advanced vehicle...The satellite is also very advanced...," Sivan said.
"For any satellite weighing beyond two tonnes, we were carrying them to other countries for launch. Now everything can be launched by our Indian vehicle," he said.
The VSSC director said there was a plan to improve the payload of the vehicle further. "So 100 per cent, we can have our own indigenous launches of bigger satellites," he said.
On the Chandrayaan-2 mission, the VSSC director said a target has been set to complete it by December.
On reports of privatisation of PSLV operations, Sivan said, "It is not privatisation. Discussions are going on to have some joint ventures. Many companies will be joining together. ISRO will also be part of that."
Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) S Somnath said, "The highlight of the cryogenic stage is that we have full knowledge about this...because it is our own and we understand this."