ISRO’s Communication satellite GSAT-17 Launched From French Guiana:- By a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace, from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana, India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-17 was successfully launched on Thursday.
Designed with around I-3K extended bus, and to provide various communication services, GSAT-17 with a lift-off mass of about 3,477 kg carries payloads in Normal C-band, Extended C-band and S-band. The equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite based search is also being carried by the communication satellite and rescue services being provided by earlier INSAT satellites.
From the Ariane Launch Complex No 3 (ELA 3) at Kourou, a French territory located in northeastern coast of South America, the European launcher Arianespace Flight VA238 blasted off at 2:45 am IST. The scheduled launch time was 2:29. After orbiting co-passenger Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN in a flawless flight lasting about 39 minutes, the GSAT-17 was injected shortly.
The city headquartered ISRO announced after the mission, “GSAT-17 successfully launched by Ariane-5 VA-238 from Kourou, French Guiana.” Immediately after its separation from the launch vehicle, the command and control of GSAT-17 was taken over by ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka. The preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its normal functioning.
GSAT-17 that will change the ISRO’s current assemblage of 17 telecommunications satellites was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). This month, this was the third satellite launch mission by ISRO. GSLV MKIII and PSLV C-38 missions, which were lifted both from Sriharikota spaceport were the other two first developmental flights.
On June 5, the GSLV MKIII successfully launched GSAT-19 satellite, while on June 23 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, the PSLV-C38 orbited Cartosat-2 Series satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites. ISRO’s third communication satellite to successfully reach orbit in the past two months is GSAT-17.
For carrying its heavier satellites, the ISRO, which has been dependent on Ariane-5 rocket, is now developing GSLV Mk III for this purpose.
Announcing the successful launch of the satellite, Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel tweeted: “Confirmed: GSAT-17 has successfully separated from its #Ariane5 launcher #VA238 @ISRO.”
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Dr K Sivan, who watched the launch from the mission control centre called it a “text book mission”. He further thanked the Arianespace, Director. Noting it as a special mission for ISRO, he said “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.”
The 21st satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace is the GSAT-17. Its design in-orbit operational life is about 15 years. In the coming days, by using the satellite’s propulsion system in steps, the orbit raising manoeuvres will be performed to place GSAT-17 satellite in the Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator), the space agency has said.
The two solar arrays and both the antenna reflectors of GSAT- 17, during the final stages of its orbit raising operations, will be deployed and following this, the satellite will be put in its final orbital configuration. At its designated orbital slot in the geostationary orbit, the GSAT-17 will be positioned and will with some of the Indian operational geostationary satellites, it will be co-located. To turn on the communication payloads of the satellite, is later planned.
GSAT-17 will be ready for operational use, after the successful completion of all the in-orbit tests. Produced by Thales Alenia Space for Hellas Sat and Inmarsat, GSAT-17’s co-passenger Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN is a two-payload “condosat”. The direct-to-home and telecom services will be delivered by the The Hellas Sat 3 component, once in orbit, to maintain and expand Hellas Sat’s business reach, while the satellite portion of Inmarsat’s new European Aviation Network is provided by the Inmarsat S EAN component.
A premium satellite operator, is the Hellas Sat (member of the Arabsat Group), offering services in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa from the orbital position of 39 East, whereas the Inmarsat is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services. On Flight VA238, the total payload carried on is approximately 10,177 kg.