06 October 2016 Current Affairs: India has successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-18 on 6 October 2016. The satellite was launched by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
The European launcher Ariane-5 VA-231 injected GSAT-18 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) shortly after orbiting co-passenger Sky Muster II satellite for Australian operator, National Broadband Network.
After its injection into GTO, ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan took control of GSAT-18 and performed the initial orbit raising maneuvers using the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) of the satellite, placing it in circular Geostationary Orbit.
GSAT-18 is designed to provide continuity of services on operational satellites in C-band, Extended C-band and Ku-bands.Weighing 3404 kilograms 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 carries Ku-band beacon as well to help in accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite. It will enable the continuity of the vital communication services in the country by replacing the currently ageing satellites.
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 Space Systems Loral in California, is aimed at bridging the digital divide, especially in the rural and isolated regions of Australia.
Kourou is a French territory located in northeastern coast of South America. The launch, which was originally scheduled for 5 October 2016, was deferred by 24 hours due to unfavourable weather conditions at Kourou.