The Launch of GSAT-29: All you need to know

GSAT 29 Launch

With the state of Andra Pradesh on alert regarding Cyclone Gaza, uncertainty had started swarming around the much-awaited launch of ISRO’s latest satellite. However, beating the odds, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) pulled off a perfect launch, swelling in pride.

The launching was of GSAT-29, India’s heaviest ever satellite; onboard our heaviest rocket- GSLV-MK III). The space mission is said to soon aid the countrymen with their communication needs.

GSAT-29 and the launch

The launch took place at Sachin Dhawan Space Centre, located in Sriharikota island, Andhra Pradesh. Taking place on Wednesday, the launch was initially looking uncertain with it being in the projected area of Cyclone Gaja. However, hopes were regained when Gaja altered its course.

Launched by the GSLV, satellite GSAT-29 was released into the orbit roughly 16 minutes after the take-off. Compared to GSLV-MK II, the new one has almost double the payload mass (carrying capacity).

According to B Jayakumar, the Mission Director, the launch was a “grand success”.

What makes the launch so special?

There is more than one reason why this latest launch is a cause for glee. “It is an important milestone for the India Space Programme towards achieving self-reliance in launching heavier satellites”, said ISRO chief, K Sivan. Below, we mention some major features:

a. The GSAT-29 weighs a good 3,423 kg, heaviest in the history of our country.

b. It was launched into space using Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-MK III)- India’s most powerful, advanced rocket.

c. The GSLV-MK III had so far been in the developmental stage, with just one more launch in its name before. With the successful launching of GSAT-29, the GSLV-MK III will now be declared “operational”.

d. Following the smooth launch, the rocket will now act as the launch vehicle for India’s ambitious 2022 project of our first spaceflight programme.

e. GSLV’s S200 solid core is the world’s third largest.

f. The transponders present in the GSAT-29 will facilitate communication requirements in remote areas like the Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir.

Why was Sriharikota chosen?

Being one of the two satellite launch centres in the country, Sriharikota is the primary orbital launch site, ever since it first became operational in 1971. So, why is an otherwise unknown, ordinary seeming barrier island the ‘hotspot’ for India’s orbital launches?

a. Proximity to the sea

It is no rocket science that when it comes to space technology, any minute detail can make or break the deal. Once a rocket lifts off, barely any control can be exerted over it. In case of any malfunctioning; the only option is to give out a destruct command. For the rocket to crash into the ocean is much safer than hitting the land. Hence, being right next to the waterbodies puts Sriharikota at a natural advantage.

b. Closer to the equator

A significant amount of fuel can be saved if launch pads are near to the equator. In India, the equator falls towards the south- including the area of Sriharikota.

c. Structure of the landmass

The launching process usually sets off intense vibrations into the ground. The ideal area, then, has to be one where the soil is strong, preferably with a rocky layer underneath. Sriharikota meets both of the criteria.

d. Proximity to modes of transportation

A place being used for orbital launchings needs to have a good connectivity. The reason being, a lot of material, possibly heavy is often required on the site. Sriharikota is barely 20 km away from Sullupret- the nearest railway station, and 70 km away from Chennai- the closest international location for airway or transportation through waterways.

Location map of GSAT-29 launch

GSLV Mk-III D2 Launch from Sriharikota


India & Space

In recent years, the nation has traversed great lengths in the field of space. In February 2017, the country had sent 104 satellites into space in one single mission. India’s latest declaration of having its first manned space mission by 2022 is already a subject of discussions and curiosity.

It’s true, the nation has managed to build itself a niche in the world of space engineering. One can only try and wait for the upcoming decades, ones that look pretty hopeful at the moment.

Read more on previous missions of ISRO:

Read on ISRO: