ISRO's GSAT-29 successfully launched: All you need to know about India's latest satellite in orbit

The satellite is part of the ‘Digital India’ program to expand telecom, internet service nationwide.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched its latest communications satellite — GSAT 29 — on 14 November that will improve access to communication networks, specifically in the Jammu and Kashmir and North East.

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, developed by ISRO, was carried on the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-III) rocket to low-Earth orbit. Along for the ride were 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.

ISROs GSAT-29 successfully launched: All you need to know about Indias latest satellite in orbit

The GSAT-29 satellite being positioned for transport to ISRO's Sriharikota launchpad. Image courtesy: ISRO

The launch of the GSAT-29 satellite on the 64—tonne GSLV-III rocket adds to a series of test flights ISRO is carrying out to develop the agency’s heaviest rocket for use in the manned space mission planned for 2022.

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, planned for late 2022.

There are two more launches planned before the year-end — the GSAT-7A satellite for use by the Indian Air Force later this month, and the GSAT-11, which was recalled from the launchpad in April this year during pre-flight tests. The satellite will have another go at a launch from the European spaceport in French Guinea on 4 December, the ToI report said.

Also, just a few months away is the Chandrayaan-2 mission that will carry an orbiter, lander and rover in ISRO’s second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to launch on 3 January, 2019, as per ISRO’s most recent updates.

What makes the mission significant:

The GSAT-29 mission, satellite, and rocket are important to fulfilling different aspects of ISRO’s future plans.

Dusting off the MarkIII: The GSLV-MkIII is ISRO's heaviest rocket by far and will be flown almost seven months after its last mission in April to put the IRNSS-1I satellite into low-Earth orbit.

Developmental flight for Gaganyaan: The GSAT-29 mission is especially important to ISRO's Gaganyaan mission. It is the second in a series of developmental trials of ISRO’s heavy-weight GSLV-MkIII rocket before it flies three Indian astronauts to low-Earth orbit in India's first manned mission to space (or more accurately, low-Earth orbit).

The next milestone: The agency's launch calendar is brimming with launches for the months leading up the next launch of global importance — the Chandrayaan-2 mission to send an orbiter, lander, and rover to the moon, scheduled for launch on 3 January 2019.

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