ISRO will usher in an age of high-speed internet in India by launching a series of three communication satellites — GSAT-19, GSAT-11 and GSAT-20 — in the next 18 months. These launches will not only revolutionise the way we use televisions and smart-phones, but will also drive the future communication needs of smart cities.
“The next big launch will be GSAT-19. It will be launched in June… With this launch, we will begin a new age of communication satellites. It is also the beginning of high-throughput satellites (in India),” said Tapan Misra, director of Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC), an crucial arm of ISRO that is develops satellite payloads.
“You are already witnessing a change in communication technology where voice and video communications are suddenly happening through internet. With future launches, television will come to your homes on the internet using wireless Technology,” Misra said adding that GSAT-19 will be followed by launches of GSAT-11 and GSAT-20.
High-throughput satellites have been a game changer in the developed countries, providing internet connectivity many times faster, smoother and cheaper. These three satellites will not only reinforce India’s technological capability, but will also help the government and private businesses to take certain services like banks, ATMs, reservation systems and mobile and television networks to remotest part of the country in a much more efficient and seamless manner.
“The effective date rate of GSAT satellites is one gigabyte per second. GSAT-19 will be able to transfer data at four gigabyte per second, thus making it equivalent to four satellites,” he said while interacting with mediapersons at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Exhibition centre that hosted Technology Day celebrations on Wednesday to mark Pokhran-II tests, Trishul missile tests and the flight of indigenous aircraft Hansa-3.
“One of the heaviest satellites ever to be built by ISRO — GSAT-11 — is scheduled to be launched in January 2018 will have a data rate of 14 gigabytes and GSAT-20 that we plan to launch by the end of next year we plan to cover the entire nation with a satellite that will offer a data rate of 70 gigabytes per second. We will be building up our capacity with each launch. This is also in sync with the requirements of high data-rate transmission needed by India’s smart cities,” the senior ISRO scientist added.
GSAT-19 will also mark the first of three, full-fledged tests of GSLV Mark-III launcher (ISRO’s heaviest rocket) before it is officially declared operational. It will also test the new 25 tonne cryogenic engine which is three times bigger than the ones used earlier. High-throughput satellite reuses satellite “beams” (signal) several times over smaller areas. In contrast, traditional satellite technology utilises a broad single beam to cover wide regions. “Till now communication satellites used a single beam to cover the country. GSAT-19 will use eight narrow beams. GSAT-11 will have 16 beams. The narrow the beams, more is the power (sent by the antennas located on the satellite),” Misra added.
GSAT-19 will have two antennas, each measuring over 2.5 meters, while GSAT-11 have four such antennas to transmit signals.