GSAT-16 launch deferred due to inclement weather in Kourou

Mumbai: The launch of India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-16 in the early hours on Friday by Arianespace rocket from Kourou in French Guiana was deferred due to inclement weather at the launch base, ISRO announced on Thursday night.

GSAT-16 launch deferred due to inclement weather in Kourou

GSAT-16, designed to augment the national space capacity in communication services, was scheduled to be launched at 02.08 am on Friday (IST) on board Ariane 5 VA221 rocket.

In the dual satellite mission, along with GSAT-16, DIRECTV-14, which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US, was also scheduled to be launched.

“Due to inclement weather at the launch base in Kourou, French Guiana – the launch of GSAT-16 satellite onboard Ariane 5 VA221 is postponed. We’ll keep you posted,” ISRO said on its Facebook page.

A senior ISRO official said “we are waiting for communication from Kourou regarding the launch schedule.” Arianespace in a release said “In keeping with the CNES/CSG safety regulations, the launch of Arianespace Flight 221 has been postponed due to unfavourable weather conditions over the launch pad in Kourou, French Guiana. Flight 221 will place into geostationary transfer orbit the DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 telecommunications satellites.”

“Another launch date will be decided depending on the evolution of the weather conditions in Kourou,” it added.

Earlier, it was announced that Ariane 5 launcher carrying GSAT-16 had been rolled out from assembly building to the launchpad and its health was normal.

GSAT-16, with lift-off mass of 3,181 kg is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation so far.

Hit by capacity crunch, ISRO has leased 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for the use of private TV broadcasters.

The satellite will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations, as it improves the national space capacity with 48 transponders joining 180 odd existing transponders with ISRO.

GSAT-16 with a designated on orbit operational life of 12 years will be the 18th satellite to be launched by Arianespace for ISRO.

GSAT-16 will replace INSAT-3E, which was decommissioned a little prematurely in April.