Play-by-play ISRO's GSAT-30 launch, from lift-off to reaching space

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation kicked off the 2020 launch calendar by sending the GSAT 30 communications satellite into space.
  • The satellite launched from the Guiana Space Center at 2:35am along with Eutelsat's communications satellite.
  • The mission lasted a total of 38 minutes.
  • Here's a look at the first launch of 2020 as Business Insider followed it every step of the way.
India and Europe successfully launched the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSAT 30 and the Eutelsat Konnect satellites into space. This is the first launch of 2020..

"Its the first time that we have launched so early in the year... It’s also the 40th year of Arianespace, the anniversary is in March," said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, ahead of the launch.

This was the 23rd launch of an ISRO satellite by Arianespace — the commercial arm of the European Space Agency (ESA). Overall, it was the 251st launch in the Ariane-series.

"The mission will be around 38 minutes… We are going to lift at 6:05 am, the weather is great — it's absolutely perfect. I have a launch window of 1 hour 55 minutes and we will lift off towards the east," Israël explained.

GSAT 30 is aimed at providing connectivity in even the most remote regions of the country. Using GSAT 30’s bands, Indian cable operators will be able to broadcast their content to the Gulf countries, Australia and other regions within Asia. It is ISRO’s 41st communications satellite.

Here’s a play-by-play of the first launch of 2020:
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The GSAT 30 is a homegrown satellite by designed and manufactured by ISRO.

The GSAT 30 is a homegrown satellite by designed and manufactured by ISRO.

Source: ISRO

Once it was ready, it had to be shipped to Guiana Space Center in South America.

Once it was ready, it had to be shipped to Guiana Space Center in South America.

Source: ISRO

After reaching, Arianespace’s launch port last week, the GSAT 30 was fitted aboard the Ariane 5ECA rocket.

After reaching, Arianespace’s launch port last week, the GSAT 30 was fitted aboard the Ariane 5ECA rocket.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

On 16 January, the Ariane 5 rocket was docked on the launch pad as Arianespace conducted last-minute preparations.

On 16 January, the Ariane 5 rocket was docked on the launch pad as Arianespace conducted last-minute preparations.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

The Guiana Space Center extends over 700 kilometres squares — about half the size of Delhi.

The Guiana Space Center extends over 700 kilometres squares — about half the size of Delhi.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

At approximately 2:35am, Ariane 5ECA took off from the northern coast of South America in a fiery thrust.

At approximately 2:35am, Ariane 5ECA took off from the northern coast of South America in a fiery thrust.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

It blazed a trail across the equatorial sky coming out on the other side of the clouds.

It blazed a trail across the equatorial sky coming out on the other side of the clouds.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

Powering its way into space, Ariane 5 broke the sound barrier and was travelling at Mach 1 one minute into the launch.

Powering its way into space, Ariane 5 broke the sound barrier and was travelling at Mach 1 one minute into the launch.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

Two minutes after lift-off, the rocket’s boosters ran out of propellant — detaching and falling away 70 kilometres above the Earth’s surface. The main stage Vulcan engine now kicked into gear.

Two minutes after lift-off, the rocket’s boosters ran out of propellant — detaching and falling away 70 kilometres above the Earth’s surface.  The main stage Vulcan engine now kicked into gear.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

Ariane 5 lost three-quarters on its weight in just over two minutes — the lighter it is, the faster it will fly.

Ariane 5 lost three-quarters on its weight in just over two minutes — the lighter it is, the faster it will fly.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

Once the rocket was 215 kilometres high, the main engine separated from the main body. The Ariane 5 was now using the upper stage HM7B engine to propel itself.

Once the rocket was 215 kilometres high, the main engine separated from the main body. The Ariane 5 was now using the upper stage HM7B engine to propel itself.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

With four minutes left for the upper stage engine, ground operators signalled with a ‘thumbs up’ that all was going well.

With four minutes left for the upper stage engine, ground operators signalled with a ‘thumbs up’ that all was going well.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

After another 16 minutes, the cut-off command was sent to the engine once Ariane 5 was in the correct orientation.

After another 16 minutes, the cut-off command was sent to the engine once Ariane 5 was in the correct orientation.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

Once the upper stage engine burnt out, Ariane 5 was in the ‘ballistic stage’ where it has to move around using its own momentum.

Once the upper stage engine burnt out, Ariane 5 was in the ‘ballistic stage’ where it has to move around using its own momentum.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

After coasting for two minutes, the first payload — GSAT 30’s fellow passenger the Eutelsat Konnect satellite — was deployed at an altitude of 1000 kilometres.

After coasting for two minutes, the first payload — GSAT 30’s fellow passenger the Eutelsat Konnect satellite — was deployed at an altitude of 1000 kilometres.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

GSAT 30, however, was still inside SYLDA — a layer of protection for the satellite in the lower position.

GSAT 30, however, was still inside SYLDA — a layer of protection for the satellite in the lower position.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

Flying over the Pacific Ocean, along the eastern end of Africa, SLYDA separated from Ariane 5, 29 minutes into the launch.

Flying over the Pacific Ocean, along the eastern end of Africa, SLYDA separated from Ariane 5, 29 minutes into the launch.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

Ariane 5 then had to undergo another set of manoeuvres to position itself correctly to launch GSAT 30.

Ariane 5 then had to undergo another set of manoeuvres to position itself correctly to launch GSAT 30.

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

After a cumulative 38 minutes, GSAT 30 separated from the main spacecraft and launched into geosynchronous transitory orbit (GTO).

After a cumulative 38 minutes, GSAT 30 separated from the main spacecraft and launched into geosynchronous transitory orbit (GTO).

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

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