GSAT-17 became India's third communication satellite to reach orbit in the past two months with its successful launch in the early morning hours using the European Ariane 5 Launch Vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana.
The Arianespace Flight VA238 blasted off from Ariane Launch Complex No 3 (ELA 3) at Kourou, a French territory in northeastern coast of South America, couple of minutes after the scheduled time of 2:29 hrs IST.
GSAT-17 was injected shortly after orbiting co-passenger Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN in a flight lasting about 41 minutes. ''GSAT-17 successfully launched by Ariane-5 VA-238 from Kourou, French Guiana,'' Isro announced after the mission.
The 3,477 kg GSAT-17 carries communication payloads in C-band, Extended C-band and S-band for providing various services to the country. The satellite also carries equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite based search and rescue services.
After its lift-off at 0245 hrs (2:45 am) IST and a flight lasting about 39 minutes, GSAT-17 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 249 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,920 km, inclined at an angle of 3 degrees to the equator.
Isro's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-17 immediately after its separation from the launch vehicle. Preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its normal functioning, an Isro release stated.
Isro will perform orbit raising manoeuvres in the coming days and place GSAT-17 satellite in the geostationary orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using the satellite's propulsion system in steps.
During the final stages of its orbit raising operations, the two solar arrays and both the antenna reflectors of GSAT-17 will be deployed. Following this, the satellite will be put in its final orbital configuration. GSAT-17 will be positioned at its designated orbital slot in the geostationary orbit and will be co-located with some of the Indian operational geostationary satellites. Later, it is planned to turn on the communication payloads of the satellite. After the successful completion of all the in-orbit tests, GSAT-17 will be ready for operational use.
GSAT-17 that will strengthen Isro's current fleet of telecommunication satellites is the third satellite launch by Isro this month, the other two being first developmental flight of GSLV MkIII and PSLV C-38 missions - both from Sriharikota spaceport.