India's mega geostationary satellite GSAT-8 was spinning in an
elliptical geo-synchronous transfer orbit early Saturday after an Ariane-V rocket successfully lifted it off the Kourou spaceport in
French Guiana, said a top official of the Indian Space Research
"The Rs.260-crore advanced
communication satellite was injected into the transfer orbit 31
minutes after a textbook launch at 0208 IST and it started beaming
signals to our master control facility (MCF) near Hassan in
Karnataka," S. Satish, director of the state-run space agency,
Hassan is about 180 km northwest of the tech hub of Bangalore.
Ariane-V of Arianespace belongs to the European Space Agency
(ESA), an international organisation with 19-member states.
The cost of the launch was Rs.300 crore and Rs.30 crore was for
The 3,093 kg (weight at lift-off) satellite was separated from the
rocket's upper stage at an altitude of 1,800 km and fired into the
intended orbit, which is at 35,861 km apogee (away from earth) and
258 km perigee (close to earth) with an inclination of 2.5 degree
to the equator.
"Initial checks by MCF have indicated that the satellite's health
is normal and in a three axis stabilisation mode. Steps are
underway to fire its 440 Newton liquid apogee motor (LAM) during
the third orbit early Sunday to push it to its geostationary
orbital slot," Satish said.
The satellite will be gradually put into the 36,000 km
geosynchronous orbit over the next couple of days and its antenna
and solar panels will be deployed.
Weighing 1,426 kg (dry mass) in space, the cuboid shaped
spacecraft has 24 high-power Ku-band transponders as its payload
for direct-to-home (DTH) services from July 1 by state-run and
private broadcasters after its induction into the Indian satellite
Along with the satellite, a two-channel global positioning system
(GPS) aided geo augmented navigation (Gagan) payload will operate
in L1 and L5 bands when activated.
Over the next couple of days, the MCF will take complete control
of the satellite and conduct the initial orbit raising manoeuvres
by using the LAM on board the spacecraft, placing it in the
circular geostationary orbit.
After this, the deployment of appendages such as the solar panels,
antennas and three axis stabilization of the satellite will be
"The satellite will be positioned at 55 degree East longitude and
co-located with INSAT-3E satellite. The designed in-orbit mission
life of the satellite is 12 years. The 24 Ku-band transponders
will augment the capacity in the INSAT system," Satish said.
The Gagan payload also provides the satellite based augmented (SBAS)
through which the accuracy of the positioning information obtained
from the GPS satellite of the US is improved by a network of
ground based receivers and made available to users in the country
through the geostationary satellites.
ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan, who was present at the launch,
termed the event a great moment for the country and its space
"The user community is looking forward to the activation of the 24
transponders in the INSAT system. The successful launch is a new
phase in our communication, application and space system,"
Radhakrishnan said soon after the launch of the successful
As the 44th successful consecutive launch, the heavy geostationary
workhorse has also carried a dedicated communication satellite for
Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) and Taiwan's Chunghwa
"Coming less than one month after the previous launch, this 44th
success in a row is remarkable and demonstrates the competence of
our operational team," said Arianespace chairman and chief
executive Jean-Yves Le Gall.