Bangalore: The stage is set for launch of India’s advanced communication satellite GSAT-10, the heaviest built by the country, in the early hours on Saturday on board Ariane-5 rocket from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana.
Weighing some 3,400 kg at lift-off, it is Indian Space Research Organisation’s 101st space mission.
According to Bangalore-headquartered Isro, the spacecraft, carrying 30 communication transponders (12 Ku-band, 12 C-band and six Extended C-Band)—to be launched at 2.48 am and telecast live by Doordarshan—would provide vital augmentation to INSAT/GSAT transponder capacity.
Also, it has a navigation payload “GAGAN” that would provide improved accuracy of GPS signals (of better than seven metres) to be used by the Airports Authority of India for civil aviation requirements.
This is the second satellite in INSAT/GSAT constellation with GAGAN payload after GSAT-8, launched in May 2011.
GSAT-10 project director TK Anuradha, director of Satellite Communication and Navigation Programme, N Prahlada Rao, additional secretary of the Department of Space, S Srinivasan and Director of ISRO Satellite Centre SK Shivakumar are in French Guiana for the launch.
Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan will be at Isro’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka at the launch time. MCF will acquire signals from GSAT-10 satellite immediately after injection and conduct health checks on the satellite.
GSAT-10 would have an operational life of 15 years. Isro said it is a Rs 750 crore mission for the Indian space agency, that includes the cost of satellite, launch services by the European space consortium Arianespace and insurance.
According to Arianespace, riding as the upper passenger in Ariane 5’s payload “stack” is ASTRA 2F, which will be released approximately 27 minutes after lift-off. This satellite is based on EADS Astrium’s Eurostar E3000 platform and features Ku- and Ka-band payloads.
GSAT-10 will be deployed from Ariane 5’s lower passenger position at approximately 30 minutes into the flight.
On Saturday’s mission is designated VA209, signifying 209th launch of an Ariane family vehicle since 1979.