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India’s 40th Communication Satellite GSAT-31 Launched Successfully by an Ariane 5 Rocket

GSAT-31 was the 23rd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers.

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Sriharikota: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)'s communication satellite GSAT-9 on-board GSLV-F09 lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has termed the satellite as India's “space gift for South Asia”. PTI

India’s 40th communication satellite GSAT-31 was successfully put into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket belonging to Arianespace on early Wednesday, said Indian space agency ISRO and Arianespace.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the telecommunication satellite, GSAT-31 was successfully launched on February 06, 2019 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5.

The 2,535-kg GSAT-31 would augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in geostationary orbit.

ISRO, GSAT-31
GSAT-31 was successfully put into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket. IANS

According to ISRO, GSAT-31, with a mission life of 15 years, will be used for supporting VSAT networks, television uplinks, digital satellite news gathering, DTH television services, cellular back haul connectivity and more.

The GSAT-31 will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites, ISRO said.

The two Ku-band beacon downlink signals are transmitted by the satellite for ground tracking purpose, it said.

According to Arianespace, it opened its 2019 mission activity by successfully orbiting a pair of telecommunications spacecraft – Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 (HS-4/SGS-1) and GSAT-31 with Ariane 5 rocket.

ISRO's satellites
GSAT-31 was successfully launched on February 06, 2019 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5.

Arianespace CEO Stéphane IsraAl confirmed the success in post-launch comments from the spaceport’s control room. “For the first Ariane 5 launch of the year, our heavyweight vehicle has once more performed flawlessly,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

IsraAl said that GSAT-31 was the 23rd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers, tracing the relationship back to India’s APPLE small experimental communications spacecraft, lofted in 1981 by an Ariane 1 version.

He added: “Arianespace is honoured ISRO has entrusted Ariane 5 for two launches back-to-back, with the last Ariane 5 of 2018 launching GSAT-11, and today the first one of the year 2019, which orbited GSAT-31!”

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With today’s success, Arianespace kicks off a busy launch schedule in 2019 — which targets up to 12 missions from the Spaceport with the heavyweight Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega. (IANS)

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ISRO Sets up Regional Academic Centre for Space in Karnataka

Both the academic and research institutions will also collaborate in setting up optical telescope facilities under the Netra project for space object tracking, studying space weather, asteroids and near earth objects

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) set up a regional academic centre for space at the National Institute of Technology (NITK) at Surathkal in Karnataka’s southwest Dakshina Kannada district, an official said on Saturday.

“The centre at NIT-K will conduct joint research and development in space technology applications to meet the needs of our space programmes,” space agency’s director for capacity building P.V. Venkitakrishnan said in a statement here.

The state-run ISRO will provide Rs 2 crore grant annually to NIT for the R&D projects and promotional activities through the year.

The space agency and the engineering institute signed an agreement on the industry-academic collaboration on Friday at Surathkal, about 380km from Bengaluru.

“The centre, fourth in the country, will also facilitate promoting space technology in the southern states, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and be an ambassador for capacity-building, awareness and research and development (R&D), said Venkitakrishnan on the occasion.

A joint policy and management committee will guide the centre in optimal utilisation of the research potential, infrastructure, expertise and experience of the space agency and the autonomous institute.

“The committee will plan activities like research programmes of common interest and reviewing their projects periodically,” said the director.

ISRO’s visiting scientists and experts in space technology and NIT faculty members and researchers will direct the centre’s activities, including projects.

ISRO
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan, left, and Junior Indian Minister for Department of Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh address a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

“Students of under-graduation (B.Tech) and post-graduation (M.Tech) will be involved in one-year short-term research projects and 2-4 year long-term projects in advance space programmes,” said NIT K. Umamashewara Rao.

The intellectual property rights (patent) generated in the projects will be jointly owned by ISRO and NITK.

The other three such centres are Malaviya National Institute of Technology at Jaipur in Rajasthan, Gauhati University in Assam’s state capital and Kurukshetra University at Thanesar in Haryana.

In a related development, the city-based space agency also tied up with the state-run Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) for cooperating to develop space situational awareness.

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“The agreement envisages utilisation of IIA’s expertise in astrophysics and astronomy for developing advanced technologies for inter-planetary space explorations,” said the space agency’s scientific secretary R. Umamaheswaran.

Both the academic and research institutions will also collaborate in setting up optical telescope facilities under the Netra project for space object tracking, studying space weather, asteroids and near earth objects.

“Collaboration will help us progress in various fields of astrophysics and astronomy,” said IIA Director Annapurni Subramaniam on the occasion. (IANS)