Bengaluru: India is all set to launch its communication satellite GSAT-16 from the spaceport of Kourou, French Guiana on Friday.
The GSAT-16, which is scheduled to be placed in orbit by Arianespace's launcher in the wee hours of Friday at 02:08 am (IST), is said to be in good health.
“Ariane 5 VA221 launcher carrying GSAT-16 has been rolled out from assembly building to launchpad. GSAT-16 satellite health is normal,” Indian Space Research Organisation said on its Facebook page.
GSAT-16, with lift-off mass of 3,181.6 kg is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by ISRO so far.
As the satellite significantly improves the national space capacity with 48 transponders, it will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.
Hit by capacity crunch, ISRO has leased 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for the use of private television broadcasters.
GSAT-16 satellite would be joined by its co-passenger DIRECTV-14, which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US.
“Ariane 5 is now at the ELA-3 launch complex for its December 4 (December 5 in India) mission in service of two long-standing Arianespace customers: DIRECTV and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO),” said Arianespace on its website.
It said GSAT-16 which is installed in the vehicle's lower position will be the 18th satellite launched by Arianespace for ISRO and is to be separated at just over 32 minutes after liftoff to complete Ariane 5's mission.
The designated on orbit operational life of GSAT-16 is 12 years.
After GSAT-16's injection into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan will take control of the satellite and perform the initial orbit raising manoeuvres finally placing it in the vicinity of circular Geostationary Orbit.
After this, the deployment of appendages such as the solar panels, antennas and three axis stabilisation of the satellite will be performed and co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B satellites.
GSAT-16 will replace INSAT-3E, which was decommissioned a little prematurely in April.
According to ISRO, the launch of GSAT-16 was advanced by about six months to meet user needs. (With Agency inputs)