In a first satellite launch of this year, Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) communication satellite Gsat-30 was successfully launched by European space agency’s heavy-lift launch vehicle Ariane-5 (VA 251) from French Guiana at 2.35 am (IST) on Friday. Gsat-30 was successfully placed in the geosynchronous orbit 38 minutes after the liftoff.
The 3,357-kg Gsat-30 will serve as a replacement to Insat-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage.

The satellite will provide Indian mainland and islands coverage in Ku-band and extended coverage in C-band covering Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia.

With a mission life of 15 years, Gsat-30 is configured on Isro’s enhanced I-3K bus structure and derives its heritage from Isro’s earlier Insat/Gsat satellite series. The space agency said the Gsat-30 payload is specifically designed and optimised to maximise the number of transponders on the spacecraft.

The satellite would be extensively used for supporting VSAT network, television uplinking and teleport services, digital satellite news gathering, DTH television services, cellular backhaul connectivity and many such applications. After the operationalisation of Gsat-30, Isro will again foster the use of space to help bridge the digital divide in the rural areas.
U R Rao Satellite Centre director P Kunhikrishnan and Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre director V Narayanan represented Isro at the French Guiana Space Centre during the Gsat-30 launch.

In a message, Isro chairman K Sivan said, “Gsat-30, which will replace aging Insat-4A, will provide several communication services. It will provide DTH services, digital newsgathering and Ku-band will provide communication services in the Indian mainland.”

Friday’s launch was also the first flight of 2020 for Arianespace. Ariane-5 first launched EUTELSAT KONNECT, a 3,619kg telecommunication satellite for operator Eutelsat, and later Gsat-30, which will be positioned at a longitude of 83° East. EUTELSAT KONNECT is based on the electric propulsion system and will provide satellite communication services in Europe and African continents.

A year ago, the European space agency had launched India’s Gsat-31 communication satellite. In over 30 years, France and India have developed exemplary cooperation in the space field. Since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has launched 23 satellites and signed 24 launch contracts with the Indian space agency. The successful launch of Gsat-30 strengthened the space cooperation between Europe and India.