The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has lost contact with the newly launched communications satellite GSAT-6A in less than 48 hours of launch.
The GSAT-6A Satellite was successfully launched aboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08) on Thursday, March 29, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.
The Indian space agency confirmed to have lost contact with the satellite with a statement that read, “After the successful long-duration firings, the communication from the satellite was lost when it (satellite) was on course for the final firing (to place the satellite in its final geostationary orbit), scheduled for April 1 (Sunday).”
ISRO explained that it was supposed to perform three orbit-raising manoeuvres to take GSAT-6A from the launch orbit and to place it to the designated orbit (the geostationary orbit that is at the altitude of 36,000 km).
Both the first manoeuvre and the second orbit-raising exercise were successfully performed on Friday and Saturday respectively. But when the space agency was prepping for the third manoeuvre, the communication link with the satellite was broken.
ISRO chairman Dr. K Sivan said that the team is trying to re-establish the communication link with the satellite. He explained that the delinking of the signal from a satellite is a common phenomenon. But, this time the signal delinking has happened for a longer duration.
He added that if in case the satellite’s primary power has failed, they can use the backup power like solar power if they are able to re-establish the contact with GSAT-6A.
Dr. Sivan said that he is hopeful that the satellite is not out of control and that the ISRO team will be able to reestablish contact with the satellite. As far as the location of the satellite is concerned, he said that the team is aware of the satellite’s approximate location in space with the help of other satellites and resources.