ISRO says it has lost contact with GSAT-6A

ISRO says it has lost contact with GSAT-6A”

In a setback for its space programme, India on Sunday said it lost contact with its communication satellite GSAT-6A, which was launched on board the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) on March 29.

The satellite was created to provide a platform for developing technologies such as demonstration of 6-metre S-Band Unfurlable Antenna for communication purposes, hand-held ground terminals and network management techniques that could be useful in satellite-based mobile communication applications, the space agency said.

But the Indian space programme has also been blighted by failures, most recently in August past year when a mission to launch a backup navigation satellite suffered a major technical glitch.

GSAT-6A was successfully launched into space and put into orbit on Thursday from Satish Dhawan Space Center - the southern spaceport of Sriharikota, a barrier island off the Bay of Bengal coast in Andhra Pradesh.

"Efforts are under way to establish the link with the satellite", a statement from the space agency said.

The contact was lost after the ground control centre tried to initiate the third and the final firing of the on-board engine. ISRO chairman K. Sivan had said post the launch that GSAT-6A was a complement to GSAT6, which was already in orbit, and these two satellites combined will provide a platform for development of advanced technologies, . The communication satellite was placed into the orbit roughly around 17 minutes after the rocket lifts off. The last update over the location of the GSAT 6A satellite came in at around 9:22 AM on March 30. When a satellite is launched, it is not raised in one go, but it is kept closer to earth before it is raised to its final orbit.

This is the first mission for Sivan, who assumed charge of the space agency in January.

It need be mentioned that the country celebrated the textbook launch onboard GSLV-F08 on Thursday itself.

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