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ISRO launches its heaviest satellite

Taking another step towards meeting the shortfall of transponders for satellite TV and other communication needs, the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) launched GSAT-10 from French Guiana on Saturday.

The 3,400-kg GSAT-10, India’s heaviest satellite till date, was launched on an Ariane-5 rocket and carried 30 communication transponders. ISRO’s master control centre at Hassan in Karnataka will manoeuvre it in its final geo-stationary orbit, alongside Insat-4A and the GSAT-12, over the next few days. GSAT-10 is the ninth Indian communication satellite in space.

“After a smooth countdown lasting 11 hours and 30 minutes, the Ariane-5 launch vehicle lifted off right on schedule. After a flight of 30 minutes and 45 seconds, GSAT-10 was injected into an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, very close to the intended one,” ISRO said after the launch. “Preliminary checks on various subsystems of the satellite were performed and all parameters were found satisfactory. Following this, the satellite was oriented towards the earth and the sun using the on-board propulsion system. The satellite is in good health.”

In the coming five days, ISRO will perform orbit raising manoeuvres to place the satellite in the Geostationary Orbit with required inclination with reference to the equator. The satellite will be moved to the geostationary orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using the satellite propulsion system in a three step approach.

ISRO plans to test the transponders on GSAT-10, which has an operational life of 15 years, in the second week of October.

GSAT-10 has 12 transponders in Ku-band, 12 in C-band and 6 in extended C-Band. It is expected to fill a huge gap in transponder availability.

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