India’s GSAT-17 communication satellite was successfully launched into orbit Thursday by a heavy lift rocket of Arianespace carrying communication payloads in Normal C-band, Extended C-band and S-band from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.

After its lift-off at 0229 hrs (2:29 am) IST and a flight lasting about 39 minutes, GSAT-17 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 249 Km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,920 Km, inclined at an angle of 3 degree to the equator.

The satellite also carries equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite-based search and rescue services.

The GSAT-17 is designed to provide continuity of services on operational satellites in C-band, Extended C-band and S-bands. The operational life of GSAT-17 is about 15 years.

“GSAT-17 successfully launched by Ariane-5 VA-238 from Kourou, French Guiana. GSAT-17 that will strengthen ISRO’S current fleet of 17 telecommunications satellites was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO),” said the space agency ISRO.

The launch of GSAT-17 marks ISRO’s third satellite communication to successfully reach orbit this month, the other two were GSAT-19 satellite launched on June 5 and the PSLV-C38 on June 23 from Sriharikota spaceport.

“GSAT-17 is a need of the hour for ISRO and India as it provides the continuity in services of ageing two satellites, as well as augmenting our transponder capability, and widening our horizon to mobile satellite services as well as to Antarctica areas,” said Dr K Sivan, the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre who watched the launch from the mission control centre.

He also thanked Arianespace and called it a “textbook mission”.