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India's Communication Satellite GSAT-16 Successfully Launched
Dec 10, 2014

India’s communication satellite, GSAT-16, was successfully launched on 7 December by the Ariane-5 launch vehicle VA221 of Arianespace from Kourou, French Guiana. Ariane-5 precisely placed GSAT-16 into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), after a flight of 32 minutes and 20.4 seconds.  ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka started acquiring the signal from the satellite and the commanding of the satellite was initiated.

The present orbit of the satellite was raised to Geostationary Orbit of about 36,000 km altitude through three orbit raising manoeuvres by the firing of GSAT-16`s Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) Engine.

3,181 kg GSAT-16's 48 transponders—12 in the C band, 12 in the extended C and 24 in the Ku band—cover the entire country and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. GSAT-16 will be used by television, telephone, Internet, public and private operators. It replaces the INSAT-3E—which expired in April this year—at 55 degrees East longitude.

Along with GSAT-16 DIRECTTV-14 spacecraft, designed to provide direct-to-home TV broadcasts across the US, was also placed in orbit.

The launch of GSAT-16 was originally scheduled for 5 December but was put off hours before the lift-off due to inclement weather at Kourou, which is chosen for its strategic location of being close to the equator that is ideally-suited for missions into the geostationary orbit.

A multi-application telecommunications satellite, GSAT-16 will cover the entire Indian sub-continent. It is the 18th ISRO satellite launched by Arianespace, starting with the Apple experimental satellite in 1981.

GSAT-16 will augment the national space capacity with 48 transponders joining 180-odd existing transponders with ISRO which has been hit by capacity crunch, impelling it to lease 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for private sector users like TV broadcasters who have often complained of inadequate transponder capacity to meet their requirements.

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