ISRO's GSAT-29, India's latest communication satellite successfully launched into orbit

GSAT-29 will provide telecom & internet services under ‘Digital India’ in J&K and the Northeast.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday launched India's newest communication satellite, GSAT-29, into orbit on the GSLV-MkIII D2's second developmental flight from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

At exactly 5.08 pm, the GSLV-Mk III rocket began its ascent with a deep growl that reverberated "like a thunder roll breaking free" from the second launchpad in Sriharikota.

Here is a look at the GSLV-MK-III D2 as it lifts off:

The MkIII, in its second developmental test launch before its carries Indian astronauts to space, launched the GSAT-29 satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite will then be positioned in Earth's Geostationary Orbit (GEO) using thrusters, at an altitude of 207 kilometres above ground.

The GSLV MkIII rocket's second developmental launch

The 43.4-metre tall GSLV-MkIII rocket weighs roughly 640 tonnes and has the capacity to carry a satellite as heavy as four tonnes into space.

It is also the rocket ISRO intends to use to carry the first Indian astronauts to space in the 2022 Gaganyaan mission. The successful launch of GSAT-29 adds to a series of test flights ISRO is carrying out to develop the agency’s heaviest rocket for the manned space mission.

ISRO had flown a similar rocket on 5 June 2017, when it launched the GSAT-19, another Indian communication satellite, in the rocket's historic first developmental launch.

ISROs GSAT-29, Indias latest communication satellite successfully launched into orbit

The mighty GSLV-MkIII moments before lift-off. Image courtesy; ISRO

Prior to this was GSLV-MkIII's maiden flight carrying a 3.7-tonne dummy payload in 2014, where it was tested for its stability and aerodynamics.

The GSAT-29 satellite

The communications satellite launched on GSLV-MkIII will bring better access to communication networks, specifically in the Jammu and Kashmir and North East, according to a The Times of India report.

The satellite, called GSAT-29, is a communications satellite with two separate payloads designed to improve telecommunication and internet services under the ‘Digital India’ program in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

“The high-speed bandwidth will bridge the digital divide in the hinterland,” Sivan told ToI.

The satellite weighing 3,424 kg, the has been designed for a mission lifespan of 10 years.

The other payloads onboard

Along for the ride are also a few additional payloads — an experimental Q and V band communication satellite, a device for optical communication and a high-resolution camera — part of a demonstration for use in future ISRO space missions.

Cyclone ‘Gaja’, which was forecasted to cross part of the coastline between Sriharikota and Tamil Nadu, appeared to have changed course. The mission slated for launch at 5.08 pm launched exactly as planned.

India's first manned mission Gaganyaan is expected to carry a three-person team of Indian astronauts to space for a seven days trip in low-Earth orbit, slated for late 2022.

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