NEW DELHI, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — India Thursday successfully launched its heavy communications satellite GSAT-18 into space, using the giant European rocket Ariane 5, from French Guiana.
A top Indian space official said the communications satellite, carrying 48 transponders, took off a little before sunset from Kourou in South America and was successfully placed into the orbit after half an hour.
Immediately after the satellite’s separation from the rocket, the state-owned Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) master control facility in the southern state of Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-18.
ISRO’s chief A.S. Kiran Kumar told media that it was a “flawlessly spectacular and magnificent launch.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated ISRO for the launch. “Congratulations to @isro for successfully launching the communication satellite, GSAT-18. This is another milestone for our space programme,” he tweeted.
Weighing 3.4 tonnes, the GSAT-18 satellite will not only boost India’s communication capabilities but also banking and television services.