India’s comm satellite GSAT-18 launched successfully
Boosting telecommunication services, India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-18 was on Thursday launched successfully by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
Television, telecommunication, VSAT and digital satellite news gathering are a few of the services that GSAT 18 will support in the coming days.
After a day’s delay of the launch, the European launcher Ariane-5 VA-231 blasted off around 2 AM (IST) and lofted the high power GSAT-18 into space shortly after orbiting its riding mate Sky Muster II satellite for Australian operator nbn (National Broadband Network) in a little more than 32 minute flawless flight.
The launch was originally scheduled for on Wednesday, but deferred by 24 hours owing to unfavourable weather conditions at Kourou, a French territory located in northeastern coast of South America.
GSAT-18 that strengthens ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites, was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit with the Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka taking over the command and control of the spacecraft immediately after it separated from the launch vehicle.
Preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its “normal” health, Bengaluru headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
“After a flight of 32 minutes and 28 seconds, GSAT-18 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 251.7 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,888 km, inclined at an angle of six degree to the equator,” ISRO said.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minster Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO on the successful launch of GSAT 18. “Congratulations to @isro for successfully launching the communication satellite, GSAT-18. This is another milestone for our space programme,” Modi said in a tweet.
“Hearty congratulations to ISRO on successful launch of communication satellite, GSAT-18 #PresidentMukherjee,” the official twitter handle of President of India said.
Complimenting Arianespace for the “textbook” launch, ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said, “GSAT 18 is an important satellite for us that will enable the continuity of the vital communication services in our country by replacing the currently ageing satellites.”
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 Ariane-5 rocket for carrying its heavier satellites, is developing GSLV Mk III for this purpose.