Nellore: India’s communication satellite GSAT-18 was launched by a heavy-lift Ariane rocket from Kourou in French Guyana early on Thursday. The launch, scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed due to bad weather locally.
The 3,404-kg GSAT-18 carries 48 transponders in C-band, upper extended C-band and Ku-band to provide telecommunication services.
While the Ku band is for fixed and broadcast services, the C band is used for long-distance radio telecommunications, satellite transmissions, some Wi-Fi devices, some cordless telephones, and some weather radar systems. It also has a Ku band beacon to help ground antennae tune accurately to the satellite.
The Ariane 5 VA-231 of the European Space Agency lifted off at 2am IST and placed the GSAT-18 in orbit after a flight of 32 minutes and 28 seconds. The satellite was placed in a highly elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit. The elliptical orbit is 251.7 km from the earth at its closest (perigee) and 35,888 km at its farthest (apogee).
Isro’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka took command immediately after separation, and reported that preliminary health checks on the satellite showed everything was normal. The satellite will be raised to a geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the equator.
After the completion of these operations, the two solar arrays and the antenna reflectors of GSAT-18 will be deployed. The satellite will be put in its final orbital configuration.
The GSAT-18 cost about Rs 350 crore. Isro has spent nearly `500 crore on its launch. The cost can, however, be recovered within two years by leasing the transponders, Isro officials said. The satellite has an estimated life of 15 years.