ISRO confirms loss of contact with GSAT-6A, after India’s largest communications satellite stops sending data

Four minutes after an orbit raising manoeuvre (the second of three such manoeuvres) at 10.51 am on Saturday, the satellite stopped sending data.


Launched on 29 March, GSAT-6A was to be India’s largest communications satellite yet, carrying a 6-metre antenna for enabling more efficient ground communication.

ISRO confirms loss of contact with GSAT-6A, after India’s largest communications satellite stops sending data

The GSAT-6A was to be India's largest communication satellite

The satellite itself was successfully placed into a geosynchronous orbit some 36,000 km from the Earth. The LAM (Liquid Apogee Motor) responsible for the final stages of this manoeuvre worked perfectly and on schedule. However, 4 minutes after an orbit raising manoeuvre (the second of three such manoeuvres) at 10.51 am on Saturday, the satellite stopped sending data.

The Times of India claims to have received confirmation from several unnamed sources that the likely cause of the lack of communication is a power system failure. ISRO has not issued an official statement to that effect and has only stated that, “After the successful long duration firings, when the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and the final firing, scheduled for April 1, 2018, communication from the satellite was lost.” They are currently trying to re-establish contact.

The GSAT-6A is a “high-power S-ban communication satellite” with a planned mission time of 10 years. The 6-metre antenna was meant to enable ground communication via handheld ground terminals, a feat that is not possible with previous satellites because their smaller antennas required larger receiving stations on the ground.

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