The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that it has lost communication with its GSAT-6A satellite launched on board the GSLV F08 rocket on March 29. The loss of contact was reported a day after executing the satellite’s second orbit raising manoeuvre.
According to an official report, ‘When the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and final firing, scheduled for April 1, 2018, communication from the satellite was lost. Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite. The second orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A satellite has been successfully carried out by LAM Engine firing for about 53 minutes on March 31, 2018, in the morning,’’ ISRO said on Sunday without explaining the delay in providing the update. Sources in ISRO said the delay was due to key personnel involved with the updates falling ill.
The GSAT-6A was originally intended to be launched by ISRO for the Bengaluru-based startup Devas Multimedia but the satellite, which uses the S-band and C-band for communications, was diverted for use by defence forces and “security purposes’’ after the Devas Multimedia deal was annulled by the UPA government in 2011 over alleged irregularities in the deal.
According to sources from ISRO, “We cannot say what exactly has gone wrong with the communication link to the satellite. It could be one of multiple reasons. Our engineers are working overtime to establish contact with the spacecraft.
It should be noted that in February 2017, shortly after ISRO launched two experimental Indian nano satellites INS-1A and INS-1B weighing 8.4 kg and 9.7 kg “some difficulties in signals” between the satellites and ground stations were reported a few days after the launch. The satellites were reported to have been stabilised later.
“There were some initial difficulties because it was the first time we were managing three satellites at the same time. After the initial hiccups, things have settled and the satellites are under our control,” director of ISRO’s satellite centre Mylaswamy Annadurai had then said.