Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s latest communication satellite GSAT-17 was Thursday successfully launched around 2.00 am by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana. Configured around I-3K extended bus, the 3,477 kg GSAT-17 carries payloads in Normal C-band, Extended C-band and S-band to provide various communication services. The satellite also carries equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite-based search and rescue services being provided by earlier INSAT satellites.
According to a PTI report, the European launcher Arianespace Flight VA238 blasted off from Ariane Launch Complex No 3 (ELA 3) at Kourou, a French territory located in the northeastern coast of South America, couple of minutes delayed than the scheduled time of 2:29 hours IST.
“GSAT-17 was injected shortly after orbiting co-passenger Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN in a flawless flight lasting about 41 minutes,” the report said.
After the successful launch of the mission, the space agency said, “GSAT-17 successfully launched by Ariane-5 VA-238 from Kourou, French Guiana. GSAT-17 that will strengthen ISRO’s current fleet of 17 telecommunications satellites was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).”
The launch of GSAT-17 will be the third satellite launch by ISRO this month, the other two being the first developmental flight of GSLV MkIII and PSLV C-38 missions, both from Sriharikota spaceport. The recent launches by the space agency were GSAT-19 satellite on June 5 and the PSLV-C38 that orbited Cartosat-2 Series satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites on June 23 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
Announcing the successful launch of the satellite, Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel tweeted, “Confirmed: GSAT-17 has successfully separated from its #Ariane5 launcher #VA238 @ISRO.”
— Stéphane Israël (@arianespaceceo) June 28, 2017
ISRO, which has been dependent on Ariane-5 rocket for carrying its heavier satellites, is developing GSLV Mk III for this purpose.
The director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Dr K Sivan who watched the launch from the mission control centre thanked Arianespace and called it a ‘text book mission’.”GSAT-17 is a need of the hour for ISRO and India as it provides the continuity in services of ageing two satellites, as well as augmenting our transponder capability, and widening our horizon to mobile satellite services as well as to Antarctica areas,” he said.
“GSAT-17’s co-passenger Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN is a two-payload “condosat” produced by Thales Alenia Space for Hellas Sat and Inmarsat. Once in orbit, the Hellas Sat 3 component will deliver direct-to-home and telecom services to maintain and expand Hellas Sat’s business reach, while the Inmarsat S EAN component provides the satellite portion of Inmarsat’s new European Aviation Network,” the PTI report said.
Hellas Sat (member of the Arabsat Group) is a premium satellite operator, offering services in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa from the orbital position of 39 East. Inmarsat is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services. The total payload carried on Flight VA238 is approximately 10,177 kg.
GSAT-17’s launch will be the 21st satellite from ISRO by Arianespace, and it’s designed in-orbit operational life is about 15 years. After its injection into GTO, ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan takes control of GSAT-17 and performs the initial orbit raising maneuvers using the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) of the satellite, placing it in circular Geostationary Orbit, the Indian space agency has said.