ISRO's GSAT-16 satellite launched, PM Narendra Modi calls it a 'major asset'

India's advanced communications satellite GSAT-16 was carried into orbit by an European Ariane 5 rocket, that blasted off from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana in the wee hours of Sunday morning, ISRO said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Broadcasting Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore applauded the ISRO scientists.

By Sushmita Dutta | Last Updated: Dec 09, 2014, 15:46 PM IST
ISRO's GSAT-16 satellite launched, PM Narendra Modi calls it a 'major asset'

Bengaluru: India's latest communication satellite GSAT-16 was successfully launched onboard Ariane 5 rocket from the space port of Kourou in French Guiana in the wee hours of Sunday morning, ISRO said.

“India's communication satellite GSAT-16 successfully launched onboard Ariane 5 rocket from the space port of Kourou in French Guiana,” Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said on its website.

Soon after the launch, In a tweet, the official Twitter handle of Bengaluru-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) confirmed the news adding that GSAT-16 is in 'good health'.

In an another tweet, ISRO said the first orbit raising operation is scheduled tomorrow at around 03:50 am. After the launch, ISRO's Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka has taken over the command and control of GSAT-16.

The launch was earlier deferred twice due to inclement weather at the launch base. The satellite launch was originally scheduled for Friday but was put off due to bad weather. It was rescheduled for 02.09 AM (IST) on Saturday but within hours postponed again, citing the inclement weather at the launch base in Kourou. The European launcher blasted off at 2.10 AM (IST) and hurled the GSAT-16, designed to augment the national space capacity to boost communication services, into space in a flawless flight. GSAT-16 was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). Meanwhile, an elated PM Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO scientists profusely, saying that the communication satellite will become a major asset for our space programme.

In an another tweet, Information and Broadcasting Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore said - “Congratulations; India launches GSAT-16 satellite. Will boost public & private TV and radio services,large-scale Internet & tele operations.”

Indian satellite's co-passenger DIRECTV-14, built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US, was also launched by Ariane 5 VA221, marking 63rd successful mission in a row for the rocket. "Ariane 5 delivers DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 to orbit on Arianespace's latest mission success", Arianespace said on its website.

About GSAT-16

With a lift-off mass of 3,181 kg, GSAT-16 carries a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest by a communication satellite developed by the ISRO so far. With the successful launch of GSAT-16, it became the 18th satellite to be launched by Ariane space for ISRO.

GSAT-16 is designed to augment the national space capacity in communication services. With lift-off mass of 3,181kg, GSAT-16 is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by the Isro so far. Facing capacity crunch, Isro has leased 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for the use of private TV broadcasters.

The satellite will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations. GSAT-16, which would replace INSAT-3E, decommissioned prematurely in April, has a designated on orbit operational life of 12 years. GSAT-16 will be finally positioned at 55 deg East longitude in the Geostationary orbit and co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B satellites. India's rockets PSLV and the present GSLV do not have the capability to launch satellites of more than two tonne class, prompting ISRO to opt for an outside launch.

About DIRECTV-14

The DIRECTV-14 spacecraft was deployed first in the flight sequence, separating from Ariane 5 nearly 28 minutes after liftoff, followed four minutes later by its GSAT-16 co-passenger, Arianespace said. Delivering a total payload lift performance of approximately 10,200 kg, the mission designated Flight VA221 in Arianespace's numbering system lofted DIRECTV-14 for operator DIRECTV, along with GSAT-16. ISRO is developing the next big launcher, GSLV-MkIII, which can put satellites of up to 4 tonnes in orbit.

(With Agency inputs)