In yet another milestone in India’s space programme, its third generation communication satellite INSAT-3C was successfully blasted into space by European Launch Vehicle, Ariane-4, from the French Guyanese spaceport of Kourou on Wednesday morning.
After a 54-minute delay, Ariane-4 majestically soared into space carrying the 2,750 kg INSAT-3C, the lone passenger on board, and hurtled it into space 21 minutes after the lift off.
Within half-an-hour after the satellite was injected into a geo-synchronous transfer orbit, the Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka took control of the spacecraft and acquired the telemetry signal from it.
The Rs 25 million INSAT-3C with a designed 12-year mission life, built by Indian Space Research Organisation, would replace the ageing INSAT-2C, and give an impetus to India’s telecommunications, broadcasting, business communication and mobile services.
ISRO said the initial health checks on the satellite indicated that its performance is normal, adding, first operations on this spacecraft were carried out by issuing commands from the MCF at Hassan.
Indian Space Research Organisation has now lined up the launch of two more satellites — INSAT-3A and INSAT-3E — in the next one year, amidst plans to meet the country’s requirement to have 250 transponders over the current decade.
Speaking soon after the successful launch of INSAT-3C at Kourou in French Guyana early today, ISRO Chairman, K Kasturirangan said INSAT-3A is getting into the advanced stage of integration and would be ready by June-July this year.
Sources said the space agency has also planned to launch a dedicated meteorological satellite — METSAT-1 — in the middle of next year.
Bangalore-headquartered ISRO has also planned to launch INSAT satellites by its own GSLV from Sriharikota after three developmental flights, officials said.