India on 6 October 2016 successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-18. The satellite was launched by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
The European launcher Ariane-5 VA-231 injected GSAT-18 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) shortly after orbiting co-passenger Sky Muster II satellite for Australian operator, National Broadband Network.
After its injection into GTO, ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan took control of GSAT-18 and performed the initial orbit raising maneuvers using the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) of the satellite, placing it in circular Geostationary Orbit.
• GSAT-18 is designed to provide continuity of services on operational satellites in C-band, Extended C-band and Ku-bands.
• Weighing 3404 kilograms at lift-off and having a mission life of about 15 years, GSAT-18 will strengthen ISRO's current fleet of 14 operational telecommunication satellites.
• It carries 48 communication transponders to provide services in Normal C-band, Upper Extended C-band and Ku-bands of the frequency spectrum.
• GSAT-18 carries Ku-band beacon as well to help in accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite.
• It will enable the continuity of the vital communication services in the country by replacing the currently ageing satellites.
GSAT-18 is the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by the European space agency and the mission is the 280th for Arianespace launcher family.
ISRO, which has been dependent on Ariane-5 rocket for carrying its heavier satellites, is developing GSLV Mk III for this purpose.
GSAT-18's co-passenger Sky Muster II, built by Space Systems Loral in California, is aimed at bridging the digital divide, especially in the rural and isolated regions of Australia.
Kourou is a French territory located in northeastern coast of South America. The launch, which was originally scheduled for 5 October 2016, was deferred by 24 hours due to unfavourable weather conditions at Kourou.
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