INSAT-3D Satellite on its way to Kourou (ISRO official page)
INSAT-3D Satellite on its way to Kourou.ISRO official page

India's advanced weather satellite INSAT-3D was successfully launched in the early hours of Friday from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.

INSAT-3D, which is loaded with a six-channel imager,19-channel sounder along with a data relay transponder for satellite based search and rescue operations, is aimed at enhancing weather monitoring and disaster warning services.

The meteorological satellite was launched by European space consortium Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket. Along with INSAT-3D, the Ariane 5 launched Alphasat satellites. Deemed to be Europe's largest telecommunication satellite, Alphasat is a result of a large-scale public-private partnership between the European Space Agency and Inmarsat.

The Ariane 5 rocket lifted off at 1.23 am IST from the spaceport's ELA-3 launch zone for a nearly 33-minute flight after a countdown that lasted for 11 hours and 30 minutes. The workhorse vehicle then deployed INSAT-3D in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that as soon as the meteorological satellite was detached from the Ariane 5 rocket, its solar panel was automatically deployed. Soon ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the controls of INSAT-3D and confirmed that all the sub systems of the satellite were working properly.

The position of the satellite will now be raised to a height of 36,000 km in the Geostationary Orbit using its self-propulsion system.

Before launching INSAT-3D, the rocket deployed Alphasat satellite in its orbit approximately 28 minutes after it lifted off from the spaceport. Five minutes later, Ariane 5 launched INSAT-3D.

Announcing the successful launch of INSAT-3D, K Radhakrishnan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation said,  "I am happy to inform you that the Master Control Facility at Hassan in India has already received signals from INSAT-3D."

"We are looking forward to an excellent operational performance of INSAT-3D for the next seven years making a difference for the weather forecasting and disaster warning systems for the country", he added.

Radhakrishnan , who is also the secretary in the Department of Space, was not present at the spaceport from where the launch of Ariane 5 took place.