Millennium Post

India’s comm satellite GSAT-16 launched

Boosting India’s communication services, its latest satellite GSAT-16 was successfully launched on board Arianespace rocket from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana in the early hours on Sunday, after a delay of two days due to bad weather.

The satellite with 48 transponders, the largest ever carried by a communication spacecraft built by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was injected into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) in about a 32-minute flight after a perfect lift-off by the European launcher at 2.10 AM.

It was a dual satellite launch with GSAT-16 with a lift-off mass of 3,181 kg ejected into space four minutes after its co-passenger DIRECTTV-14 spacecraft, designed to provide direct-to-home TV broadcasts across the US, was placed in orbit, Arianespace said. After the command and control of the satellite was taken over by its Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka soon after the launch, the Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO said initial checks indicated “normal health” of GSAT-16.
ISRO said the first orbit raising operation is scheduled for on Monday at around 3:50 AM as part of manoeuvres to place the satellite finally in its designated slot at 55 deg East longitude in the Geostationary orbit before being co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B satellites.

The launch of GSAT-16 was originally scheduled for Friday but was put off hours before the lift-off due to inclement weather at Kourou, which is chosen for its strategic location of being close to the equator that is ideally-suited for missions into the geostationary orbit. Arianespace rescheduled the flight for Saturday at 2.09 AM (IST) but within hours that too was postponed, citing “unfavourable weather conditions (high altitude winds” over the launch pad.It was then rescheduled for wee hours of on Sunday. “... two days we had to wait for this to happen, but it has happened excellently, so congratulations to all people from Arianespace for its excellent performance,” ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) Director S K Shivakumar said at the Arianespace facility. 

A multi-application telecommunications satellite, GSAT-16 will cover the entire Indian sub-continent. It is the 18th ISRO satellite to be launched by Arianespace, starting with the Apple experimental satellite in 1981,Arianespace said. GSAT-16 has 24 C-band, 12 Ku-band and 12 Upper Extended C-band transponders that will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.
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