Bangalore: India's advanced communication satellite GSAT-10 was successfully launched today on board Ariane-5 rocket from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana.
GSAT-10, with a design life of 15 years, is expected to be operational by November and will augment telecommunication, Direct-To-Home and radio navigation services.
At 3,400 kg during lift-off, GSAT-10 is the heaviest satellite built by the Bangalore-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was ISRO's 101st space mission.
Arianespace's heavy lifting Ariane-5 ECA rocket launched GSAT-10 about 30 minutes after the blast off from the European launch pad in South America at 2:48 am, prior to which it injected European co-passenger ASTRA 2F into orbit.
GSAT-10 is fitted with 30 transponders (12 Ku-band, 12 C-band and six Extended C-Band), which will provide vital augmentation to INSAT/GSAT transponder capacity.
It also has a navigation payload - GAGAN (GPS aided Geo Augmented Navigation) - that would provide improved accuracy of GPS signals (of better than seven metres) to be used by 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 was originally scheduled for a September 22 launch, but was deferred after scientists detected a small glitch - one gram of dust - in the upper part of the rocket.
GSAT-10 Project Director TK Anuradha, Additional Secretary in Department of Space, S Srinivasan and Director of ISRO Satellite Centre SK Shivakumar were among key ISRO officials who were in French Guiana for the launch, telecast live by Doordarshan.
Mr Shivakumar said GSAT-10 would give an impetus to the 'communication revolution' in India.
ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan was at the space agency's Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka for the launch, ISRO sources said. "The MCF has already taken command and control of the heavy satellite", he said, minutes after the launch.
"By November 2012, we expect to operationalise GSAT-10 and make it available to the user community," added Mr Radhakrishnan, also Secretary, Department of Space and Space Commission Chairman.
ISRO said GSAT-10 project is a Rs 750 crore mission that includes the cost of the satellite, launch services by the European space consortium Arianespace and insurance. Arianespace Chairman and CEO, Jean-Yves Le Gall, said at the launch base that ISRO is a highly loyal customer, as the collaboration with the agency began more than 30 years ago with its Apple satellite's orbiting by the third flight of an Ariane vehicle - an Ariane 1 version launched in June 1981.