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Geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO)

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO):


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully placed into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) India’s 42nd communications satellite, CMS-01, carried on board the PSLV-C50, from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range.

  • This was PSLV’s 52nd mission.

About CMS-01:

  • It is a communications satellite envisaged for providing services in extended C Band of the frequency spectrum and its coverage will include the Indian mainland and the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.
  • The satellite is expected to have a life of over seven years.

Different orbits:

  • A Geosynchonous Orbit (GEO) takes a satellite around the Earth at a rate of once per day, keeping it roughly in the same area over the ground.
  • A Geostationary Orbit (GSO) is a geosynchronous orbit with an inclination of zero, meaning, it lies on the equator.

All geostationary satellites are geosynchronous. Not all geosynchronous satellites are geostationary.

What, then, is a transfer orbit?

  • Rockets sending payloads to geosynchronous and geostationary orbits drop off their payload in transfer orbits, halfway points en route to the satellite’s final position.
  • From transfer orbit, a satellite conducts engine burns to circularize its orbit and change its inclination.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is a geostationary orbit?
  2. What is a geosynchronous orbit?
  3. What is a polar orbit?
  4. What is a transfer orbit?
  5. About PSLV.

Mains Link:

What are communication satellites? Discuss their significance for India.

Sources: the Hindu.