India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-18 has been successfully launched on Thursday morning by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
The launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but deferred by 24 hours owing to unfavourable weather conditions at Kourou, a French territory located in the northeastern coast of South America.
GSAT-18, built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), aims at providing telecommunications services for the country by strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecommunication satellites.
With the weather being clear on Thursday, the European launcher Ariane-5 VA-231 blasted off at around 2 AM (IST) and injected GSAT-18 shortly after orbiting co-passenger Sky Muster II satellite for Australian operator NBN (National Broadband Network) in a flawless flight lasting about 32 minutes.
GSAT-18 that aims at providing telecommunications services for the country by strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) about 32 minutes after the lift-off.
“GSAT-18 successfully launched by Ariane-5 VA-231 from Kourou, French Guiana,” Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO announced after the mission.
GSAT-18 is the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by the European space agency and the mission is the 280th for Arianespace launcher family.
ISRO, which has been dependent on the Ariane-5 rocket for carrying its heavier satellites, is developing GSLV Mk III for this purpose.
Weighing 3,404 kg at lift-off, GSAT-18 carries 48 communication transponders to provide services in Normal C-band, Upper Extended C-band and Ku-bands of the frequency spectrum.
Meanwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Narendra Modi applauded ISRO scientists for the successful launch of GSAT-18.
PM Modi tweeted:
Congratulations to @isro for successfully launching the communication satellite, GSAT-18. This is another milestone for our space programme.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 6, 2016
President Pranab Mukherjee Tweeted:
Heartiest congratulations to @ISRO Team on successful launch of navigation satellite IRNSS-IE.
— Pranab Mukherjee (@PrezMukherjee) January 20, 2016