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GSAT 11 launched from French Guiana, set to give impetus to BharatNet project


Bengaluru/ Kourou, Dec 5: Heavy-lift launch vehicle Ariane 5 lifted off from French Guiana with India's heaviest satellite GSAT 11 in the early hours of Wednesday (02:07 am IST). GSAT-11, weighing 5,854 kg, is ISRO's heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite.

The launch site was the Ariane Launch Complex at Kourou, a French territory located along the northeastern coast of South America. After a 30-minute flight, GSAT-11 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.

GSAT 11 launched from French Guiana, set to give impetus to BharatNet project

The satellite is the third of the four satellites that will high-speed broadband connectivity to all parts of India, bridging the rural and urban divide. Two satellites, the GSAT 19 and 29, have already been launched and the fourth GSAT 20 will be launched later next year.

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This will further the Union government's Digital India initiative by supporting BharatNet an ambitious optical fibre network connecting 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. The mission life of the satellite will be 15 years.

The satellites together will allow for high-speed voice, data, and video-streaming services over diverse geophysical and climatic conditions, said reports.

ISRO has its own launch vehicles, but has consistently relied on Arianespace to orbit satellites too heavy for the agency's own launchers.

"GSAT 11 is an advanced communication satellite. It is the largest and heaviest satellite built by ISRO. It will fulfil most needs of providing broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible gram panchayats under BharatNet project," said ISRO chairman K Sivan.

Ariane-5 launch vehicle:

The Ariane-5 vehicle (Flight VA246) also carried GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), along with GSAT-11. The 3,507.20 kg GEO-KOMPSAT-2A is designed to conduct meteorological and space weather monitoring missions.

Ariane 5 is a European heavy-lift launch vehicle that is part of the Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) or low Earth orbit (LEO). Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French spatial agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales. Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for the vehicles, leading a consortium of other European contractors.

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Ariane 5 succeeded Ariane 4, but was not derived from it directly as Ariane 5 was developed from scratch. Ariane 5 has been refined since the first launch in successive versions, "G", "G+", "GS", "ECA", and most recently, "ES". ESA originally designed Ariane 5 to launch the Hermes spaceplane, and thus intended it to be human rated from the beginning.

Two satellites can be mounted using a SYLDA carrier (SYstème de Lancement Double Ariane, "Ariane Double-Launch System"). Three main satellites are possible depending on size using SPELTRA (Structure Porteuse Externe Lancement TRiple Ariane, "Ariane Triple-Launch External Carrier Structure").

BharatNet Project:

National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) is an ambitious initiative to trigger a broadband revolution in rural areas. NOFN was envisaged as an information super-highway through the creation of a robust middle-mile infrastructure for reaching broadband connectivity to Gram Panchayats.

The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) aims to connect all the 2,50,000 Gram panchayats in the country and provide 100 Mbps connectivity to all gram panchayats (GPs). To achieve this, the existing fibres of PSUs (BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid) were utilised and incremental fibre was laid to connect to Gram Panchayats wherever necessary. Dark fibre network thus created was lit by appropriate technology thus creating sufficient bandwidth at the Gram Panchayats.

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