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GSAT-11: ‘The Big Bird’ launched and is flying high in space

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The most powerful satellite of India, GSAT-11, also known as ‘The Big Bird’, launched successfully. It is also the heaviest India-made satellite. It will provide internet to remote villages where cable-based internet cannot reach. 

‘Big Bird’ was successfully launched into space today from the French space port of Kourou in South America. The satellite, launched at 2.07 am (IST). The satellite, weighing 5,854 kg, is the heaviest Indian-made equipment that the agency put into its orbit.

This is the second attempt after the first attempt failed in May earlier this year.

GSAT-11 is the next generation high throughput communication satellite that will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications. 

Dr K Sivan, ISRO chief

Why GSAT-11 is special? 

Apart from the superlatives like being the heaviest and the most powerful Indian man-made object in space, the space agency says it will give users high data rate connectivity, both on the Indian mainland and on the islands, through user and hub beams in two frequency bands: Ku and Ka.

The first uses frequencies ranging between 12 and 18 GHz (gigahertz), and the second, between 26 and 40 GHz, the European Space Agency says.

The Ka band, used in both communication satellites and military aircraft radars, is being introduced in India for the first time through GSAT-11.

“GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible gram panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of the Digital India programme,” Sivan said.

Along with its three siblings, GSAT-19, GSAT-29 and GSAT-20, the satellite will be a “game changer for providing internet access and data communications for India and will aid the digital India program. Dr Sivan adds.

The “Big Bird” has cost about Rs. 600 crore. The Ariane-5 heavyweight rocket was hired from Arianespace by ISRO. The satellite is expected to have a life span of 15 years.

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