More reports on: Satellites

GSAT-18 launch postponed by a day as bad weather delays liftoff of Ariane 5 rocket

05 October 2016

The launch of India's latest communication satellite GSAT-18, from Kourou space port in French Guiana, scheduled for today, has been postponed till tomorrow as heavy cross winds delayed the liftoff of the Ariane 5 rocket which was to place the satellite into orbit.

''Launch of GSAT-18 is postponed by a day to October 6, 2016,'' Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) stated in a brief release.

The French company, Arianespace, said the liftoff of Ariane 5 rocket with Indian satellite GSAT-18 has been postponed to 6 October due to unfavourable weather conditions.

The rocket is now expected to lift off between 2 am and 3.15 am from Kourou today.

GSAT-18, India's latest communication satellite, is a high power satellite being inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system. Weighing 3,404 kg at lift-off, GSAT-18 carries 48 communication transponders to provide services  in  normal  C-band,  upper  extended  C-band  and  Ku-bands  of  the  frequency  spectrum.

GSAT-18 carries Ku-band beacon as well to help in accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite.

GSAT-18 is designed to provide continuity of services on operational satellites in C-band, Extended C-band and Ku-bands. GSAT-18 will be launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by Ariane-5 VA-231 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana. After its injection into GTO, ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan takes control of GSAT-18 and performs the initial orbit raising maneuvers using the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) of the satellite, placing it in circular Geostationary Orbit.

After this, the deployment of appendages such as the solar panels and antennas as well as three axis stabilisation of the satellite will be performed. GSAT-18 will be positioned at 74 deg East longitude and co-located with other operational satellites.  The designed in-orbit operational life of GSAT-18 is about 15 years.

Apart from the Indian communication satellite, the Ariane 5 rocket will be carrying Australian Sky Muster II satellite.

GSAT-18's co-passenger Sky Muster II, built by SSL (Space Systems Loral) in Palo Alto, California, is aimed at bridging the digital divide, especially in the rural and isolated regions of Australia.

According to Arianespace, GSAT-18 will be the 20th satellite from Isro to be launched by it.

Since the launch of the Apple experimental satellite on Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has orbited 19 Indian satellites, winning 86 per cent of the geostationary orbit launch contracts that the country has opened to non-Indian launch systems.

Built by Isro, GSAT 18 will provide telecommunications services for India, strengthening Isro's current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites.

This Ariane 5 flight will be the 280th mission by the Arianespace launcher family.

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