India to launch next communication satellite in July

The 1,400kg GSAT-12 will be launched at a cost of about Rs.100 cr from the spaceport at Sriharikota.

Bangalore: India will launch another advanced communication satellite - GSAT-12 - in geosynchronous orbit in the second week of July using a smaller rocket, a senior official said Wednesday.

The 1,400kg GSAT-12 will be launched from the spaceport at Sriharikota, about 80 km northeast of Chennai, on board the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C17). "The 320-tonne heavy rocket will have extended strap-ons for carrying solid and liquid propellants to put the spacecraft in the geosynchronous orbit in two stages," state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters here.

The Rs.148-crore GSAT-12 will have 12 extended C-band transponders for communications and weather forecast services. The launch cost is about Rs.100 crore.

The launch of GSAT-12 has been scheduled next month after the space agency successfully placed an advanced mega satellite - GSAT-8 - in geosynchronous orbit May 25 after it was launched May 21 from Kourou in French Guiana off the South American coast onboard the Ariane-V rocket of the European Space Agency consortium Arianespace.

GSAT-12 has been built at the space agency`s satellite centre in this tech hub and will be shipped to Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh Thursday.

"As we are using a polar launch vehicle to place the satellite in the geosynchronous orbit, the spacecraft will be first placed in the lower elliptical orbit between 284 km perigee (closer to earth) and 21,000 km apogee (away from earth) and subsequently transferred into the intended orbit in stages between 21,000 km perigee and 36,000 km apogee," Radhakrishnan said.

In the run-up to the launch mission, the rocket will be assembled at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota and integrated with control systems and avionics.

"The solid and liquid stages are going through final checks before strapping them onto the rocket. The entire exercise, including assembling, integration and tests will be completed by June 26 for launching the mission in the second week of July," the chairman said.