Kourou(French Guiana) [US], Oct. 6 : India's latest communication satellite GSAT-18 was on Thursday morning successfully launched by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
The European launcher Ariane-5 VA-231 blasted off at around 2 a.m. Indian Time and injected GSAT-18 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, shortly after orbiting co-passenger Sky Muster II satellite for Australian operator, National Broadband Network.
The launch, which was originally scheduled for yesterday, was deferred by 24 hours due to unfavourable weather conditions at Kourou, which is a French territory located in north-eastern coast of South America.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman AS Kiran Kumar, who witnessed the launch from the mission control centre, said that GSAT-18 is an important satellite for India and will enable the continuity of the vital communication services in the country by replacing the currently ageing satellites.
Weighing 3,404 kgs at lift-off and having a mission life of about 15 years, GSAT-18 will strengthen ISRO's current fleet of 14 operational telecommunication satellites.
It carries 48 communication transponders to provide services in Normal C-band, Upper Extended C-band and Ku-bands of the frequency spectrum.
GSAT-18 is the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by the European space agency and the mission is the 280th for Arianespace launcher family.
ISRO, which has been dependent on Ariane-5 rocket for carrying its heavier satellites, is developing GSLV Mk III for this purpose.
GSAT-18's co-passenger Sky Muster II, built by the Space Systems Loral in California, is aimed at bridging the digital divide, especially in the rural and isolated regions of Australia.