GSAT-17, the country’s newly launched communication satellite, will soon join the fleet of 17 working Indian communication satellites in space and augment their overall capacity to some extent.
GSAT-17 was sent up as the second passenger on the European booster, Ariane-5 ECA VA-238, according to ISRO and the European launch company Arianespace.
GSAT-17, built mainly for broadcasting, telecommunication and VSAT services, carries over 40 transponders. It also has equipment to aid meteorology forecasts and search and rescue operations across the sub-continent.
GSAT-17 is designed to provide continuity of services of operational satellites in C, extended C and S bands.
The satellite was released into what is called a temporary `geosynchronous transfer orbit’ or GTO, where it started orbiting distant 249 km at the near end to Earth and 35,920 km at the farthest point.
Its co-passenger was the 5,700-kg Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN shared by two satellite operators.
ISRO does not yet have a launcher that can lift payloads above 2,000 kg.
As such it must hire foreign launch vehicles — mostly of Arianespace — to put its heavier communication spacecraft in orbit. Only this month, it tested its first GSLV-Mark III vehicle which can do this job for it.
GSAT-17 became India’s third communication satellite to successfully reach orbit in the past two months.
It launched GSAT-19 on the new MkIII on June 5 and the 2,230-kg GSAT-9 or the South Asia Satellite on May 5, both from Sriharikota.
GSAT-17’s co-passenger has two operators. Hellas Sat 3 provides direct to home television and telecom services across Europe, West Asia and South Africa.
Global satellite operator Inmarsat will provide in-flight Internet facilities for European airlines, as signified in the satellite’s tag EAN or European Aviation Network.