Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently got a setback as its newly launched GSAT 6A communications satellite that was launched to space on a GSLV MK II on March 29 has lost connection with the mission control. After its launch in evening of March 29, the spacecraft was programmed to undergo three orbit-raising maneuvers that would finally station it in the Geosynchronous orbit of 36,000 km. The satellite was put forth in an elliptical orbit by the powerful Mk II rocket’s upper stage which set it at the altitude of 254 km as just 18 minutes after launch.
According to the official statement released by ISRO, the first orbit-raising maneuver was performed at 9.22 am IST on March 30 which went successfully. The second orbit-raising maneuver was scheduled at 11 am on March 31 which was performed, however, the rumors and speculations began to surface as there was no official input made by ISRO until April 1. As per the sources, scientists at ISRO’s mission control fired the second orbit-raising maneuver at 10.51 am IST on March 30, however, within four minutes of being in action, the mission control lost signal to the satellite.
On April 1, 2018, ISRO released the statement that prior to the third orbit-raising maneuver, they lost the connection with the satellite. K Sivan who is the chairman of ISRO made it clear that although the space agency lost the link to the GSAT 6A satellite, they are still working on it to establish a connection. The satellites are designed to go into safe mode when such incidences occur after which, scientists try to connect with the satellite usually dedicated link, however, the process wasn’t successful.
GSAT 6A is a communications satellite with an indigenous cryogenic engine affixed at its third stage that was made wholly by ISRO. The satellite was programmed to station at the altitude of 36,000 km which is the geosynchronous orbit following three orbit-raising maneuvers. The 2.14-tonne satellite was mounted on GSLV-F08 MK II rocket which is considered the most powerful launcher in India. The satellite was programmed to assist earlier sent GSAT 6 satellite. Following the launch, the ISRO chairman marked it as a magnificent mission. The satellite is currently at the altitude of around 28,370 Km at the time of writing this post (21.51 IST, April 4) and it is constantly losing its altitude.