India’s heaviest communication satellite GSAT-10 was successfully launched by an Ariane-5 rocket from Kourou launchpad in French Guiana, ISRO said Saturday. It would augment telecommunications, direct-to-home broadcasting and civil aviation needs.
A statement issued by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the European Ariane-5 rocket injected the 3,400 kg GSAT-10 into an elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) 30 minutes and 45 seconds after the lift off.
French Guiana is in South America and Kourou is the European spaceport there. Soon after the satellite was put into orbit ISRO’s master control facility at Hassan in Karnataka took over GSAT-10’s command and control functions.
Following this, the satellite was oriented towards the Earth and the Sun using the onboard propulsion system. The satellite is in good health.
The Indian space agency said over the next five days, the satellite’s orbit would be raised and place it in the geostationary orbit around 36,000 km above the equator after which the two solar panels would be deployed.
The satellite will be ready for operational use by November 2012 after successful completion of all tests. The GSAT-10 with an operational life of around 15 years would be placed along with INSAT-4A and GSAT-12 satellites, ISRO said.
GSAT-10 with 30 communication transponders – automatic receivers and transmitters for communication and broadcast of signals- will add to ISRO’s existing own transponder capacity of 168. ISRO has also taken on lease 94 transponders from foreign satellites.
The GSAT-10 also carries a navigation payload ‘GAGAN’ to provide improved accuracy of global positioning satellite (GPS) signal for the Airports Authority of India for civil aviation needs.
This is the second satellite in the INSAT/GSAT constellation with GAGAN payload after GSAT-8, launched in May 2011, ISRO said.
The cost of the GSAT-10, including its launch and insurance, is Rs.750 crore (over $135 million).