Bengaluru: After its launch was deferred twice due to bad weather, India's latest communication satellite GSAT-16 was placed in orbit by Ariane 5 rocket in the early hours today from the space port of Kourou in French Guiana.
The European launcher blasted off at 2.10 AM (IST) and hurled the GSAT-16, designed to augment the national space capacity to boost communication services, into space in a flawless flight.
GSAT-16 was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
Indian satellite's co-passenger DIRECTV-14, built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US, was also launched by Ariane 5 VA221, marking 63rd successful mission in a row for the rocket.
"Ariane 5 delivers DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 to orbit on Arianespace's latest mission success", Arianespace said on its website.
With a lift-off mass of 3,181 kg, GSAT-16 carries a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest by a communication satellite developed by the ISRO so far.
Soon after the launch, Bengaluru-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the satellite is in good health.
ISRO's Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka has taken over the command and control of GSAT-16. First orbit raising operation is scheduled tomorrow at around 03:50 am, the space agency said.
The satellite launch was originally scheduled for Friday but was put off due to bad weather. It was rescheduled for 02.09 AM (IST) on Saturday but within hours postponed again, citing the inclement weather at the launch base in Kourou.
GSAT-16, with a designated on orbit operational life of 12 years, will boost public and private tv and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.
It will replace INSAT-3E, decommissioned prematurely in April. It is the 18th satellite launched by Arianespace for ISRO.