India’s GSAT-10 telecommunications satellite — one of two passengers for Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 mission in September — has been put through its paces during pre-flight preparations at the Spaceport in French Guiana, including a solar panel deployment test, according to Arianespace.
Also aboard GSAT-10 is the GAGAN (GPS and GEO augmented navigation) payload, which will support the Indian government’s implementation of a satellite-based regional capability to assist aircraft navigation over Indian airspace and in adjoining areas. The initial GAGAN payload was carried aboard the GSAT-8 spacecraft, orbited by Arianespace on an Ariane 5 mission in May 2011.
The solar panel checkout involved the extension of its multi-segment solar panels, validating the proper operation before they are definitively stowed against the satellite in the final lift-off configuration. The test uses an overhead latticework that helps support the solar panel’s weight — simulating zero gravity conditions of space as the panel opens to its full length.
Performed under the control of GSAT-10 satellite team members, the extension validation was conducted in the S5C high bay area of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation center — the largest individual hall in this facility.
GSAT-10 was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and will meet the growing need for Ku- and C-band transponder capacity. It is to become part of the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system of geostationary spacecraft — representing one of the largest domestic communications satellite networks in the Asia-Pacific region.
Configured with 12 Ku-band, 12 C-band and 12 extended C-band transponders, GSAT-10 utilizes the I-3K satellite bus developed by ISRO, with a power capability of some six kilowatts and a liftoff mass estimated at 3,400 kg.
The upcoming Ariane 5 flight with GSAT-10 and the Astra 2F satellite as its co-passenger is set for September 21 from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch
complex. This will be Arianespace’s fifth mission from French Guiana in 2012 with the heavy-lift workhorse.
Below, one of GSAT-10’s two solar panels is extended during deployment verifications performed in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation center.