GSAT-18: India’s latest communication satellite launched from French Guiana

India’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-18 was launched from French Guiana aboard a massive Arianespace rocket on October 6, 2016. The launch was earlier scheduled for Wednesday but was aborted because of intermittent weather conditions.

The heavy duty Ariane rocket blasted off with a thunderous roar from Kourou in French Guiana. GSAT-18 will further augment the 14 operational telecommunication satellites of the nation. The satellite was a co-passenger along with Sky Muster II satellite for Australian operator NBN (National Broadband Network) in what was a hitch free flight which lasted for about 32 minutes.

The satellite was placed in the Geosynchronous Orbit from where onboard motors will push the satellite to its final parking slot which will be the 36000 kilometers above the Earth. After the GSAT-18 injection into the transfer orbit, the controls were taken over by Master Control Facility at Hassan.

The satellite will see through a series of orbit raising maneuvers when the liquid apogee motors will be fired to place it in a geosynchronous orbit.

The next stage will be the deployment of different extensions like solar panels, antennas, and three-axis stabilization. The satellite is scheduled to be parked at 74 deg East longitudes and co-located with other operational satellites, ISRO said.

Launch of Heavy Ariane 5 with Sky Muster II & GSAT-18 (VA-231)

The satellite weighed 3.4 Tons and carried 28 transponders and will provide services in the C-Band, Extended C-Band, and the Ku-Bands. ISRO currently does not have a rocket to carry 3 Ton payloads and is developing the GSLV-Mark III for this purpose. The satellite will have a productive life of 15 years.

ISRO and Ariane has a long association, and the Space Agency has launched more than 20 satellites for the Indian Space Organization. ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar watched the launch from mission control.