India's latest communication satellite GSAT-17 was successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana on 29 June 2017. The satellite was launched by French rocket Ariane-5. The European launcher Arianespace Flight VA238 blasted off from Ariane Launch Complex No 3 (ELA 3) at Kourou, a French territory located in the northeastern coast of South America, a couple of minutes delayed than the scheduled time of 2:29 hrs India time.
After its lift-off at 2:45 am (IST) and a flight lasting about 39 minutes, GSAT-17 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 249 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35920 km, inclined at an angle of 3 degrees to the equator.
GSAT-17 with a lift-off mass of about 3477 kg carries payloads in Normal C-band, Extended C-band and S-band to provide various communication services. GSAT-17 has a life expectancy of 15 years.
The Satellite also carries equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite-based search and rescue services being provided by earlier INSAT satellites.
ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-17 immediately after its separation from the launch vehicle.
In an official update, ISRO said, “In the coming days, orbit raising manoeuvres will be performed to place GSAT-17 satellite in the Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using the satellite’s propulsion system in steps.”
During the final stages of its orbit raising operations, the two solar arrays and both the antenna reflectors of GSAT-17 will be deployed. Following this, the satellite will be put in its final orbital configuration.
GSAT-17 will be positioned at its designated orbital slot in the geostationary orbit and will be co-located with some of the Indian operational geostationary satellites (INSAT)/GSAT system. Later, it is planned to turn on the communication payloads of the satellite. After the successful completion of all the in-orbit tests, GSAT-17 will be ready for operational use.
With this launch, India was able to add one more satellite in its existing fleet of 17 communication satellites.
This was third satellite launch by ISRO in June 2017, the other two being first developmental flight of GSLV MkIII and PSLV C-38 missions launched from Sriharikota spaceport.
Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Dr K Sivan described the launch as a "text book mission". He said that launch of GSAT 17 will provide the continuity in services of ageing two satellites and widen the country's horizon to mobile satellite services as well as to Antarctica areas.
An official statement from Arianespace read, “It was the 21st satellite that Arianespace launched for ISRO since 1981."Since the launch of the experimental Apple satellite in 1981, we have bagged 87% of the geostationary orbit launch contracts that India has opened to non-Indian launch systems".
Besides GSAT-17, Ariance-5 also put into space Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN, a "condosat" for Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat. Arianespace said, Hellas Sat, a member of the Arabsat Group, is a premium satellite operator, who offers its services in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa from the orbital position of 39 East. This payload, which is the second Hellas Sat Satellite, will deliver DTH (direct-to-home) and telecom services maintaining and expanding Hellas Sat business reach.
Where: From Kourou in French Guiana
What: Successfully launched
When: 29 June 2017