According to Arianespace, the launch of Ariane-5 (VA 247) is scheduled for 2:31 am India time on Wednesday. Weighing about 2,535 kg, the Indian satellite, GSAT-31, will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites. The satellite derives its heritage from ISROs earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series, the space agency said, adding that it provides Indian mainland and island coverage. GSAT-31 is the country’s 40th communication satellite which is configured on ISRO’s enhanced ‘I-2K Bus’, utilising the maximum bus capabilities of this type. This satellite will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit. With a mission life of around 15 years, GSAT-31 will be used for supporting VSAT networks, Television uplinks, Digital Satellite News Gathering, DTH-television services, cellular backhaul connectivity and many such applications. It also provides wide beam coverage to facilitate communication over large oceanic region, comprising large parts of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean, using a wide band transponder.
According to ISRO, two Ku-band beacon downlink signals are transmitted for ground tracking purpose. Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 will be the co-passenger of GSAT-31 during the launch, Arianespace said. Comprising two payloads, Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4, also called HS- 4/SGS-1, is a geostationary condosat for KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology Saudi Arabia) and Hellas Sat (Greece Cyprus). It will provide telecommunication capabilities, including television, Internet, telephone and secure communications in the Middle East, South Africa and Europe, Arianespace said on its website. GSAT-30 is another geostationary satellite to be lofted soon by Arianespace.