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GSAT12 and ST2 Will launch Soon

Bapun Raz

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The Indian GSAT-8 multi-role
spacecraft for Arianespace's
next Ariane 5 mission is
undergoing an in-depth
checkout at the Spaceport in
French Guiana in preparation
for its liftoff on May 19.
GSAT-8 was built by the
Indian Space Research
Organisation ( ISRO) using its
I-3K satellite bus, and
validations being performed
in the Spaceport's S5 payload
preparation facility include
antenna and solar panel
deployments. With a liftoff
mass of 3,100 kg., GSAT-8
carries 24 transponders to
augment India's Ku-band
relay capabilities, and also is
equipped with the two-
channel GAGAN (GPS and
GEO augmented navigation)
system. GAGAN will support
the Indian government's
implementation of a regional
satellite-based augmentation
system to assist in the
navigation of aircraft over
Indian airspace and in
adjoining areas.
The upcoming GSAT-8 launch
will continue India's long-
term relationship with launch
services provided by Ariane,
which dates back 30 years to
the orbiting of the country's
APPLE experimental payload.
In total, 13 Indian satellites
have been lofted by Ariane
launchers, starting with
APPLE in 1981, and followed
by INSAT-1C in 1988,
INSAT-2A in 1992, INSAT-2B
in 1993, INSAT-2C in 1995,
INSAT-2D in 1997, INSAT-2E
in 1999, INSAT-3B in 2000,
INSAT-3C in 2002, INSAT-3E
and INSAT-3A in 2003,
INSAT-4A in 2005 and
INSAT-4B in 2007. Another
satellite operated by India
was INSAT-2DT, which
originally was orbited by
Ariane in 1992 as Arabsat-1C
and acquired by ISRO in
November 1997.

For the upcoming launch,
GSAT-8 will be joined by a
co-passenger — ST-2 for the
ST-2 Satellite Ventures
joint company — on
Arianespace's third Ariane 5
mission of the year at French
Guiana. Arianespace is
targeting a total of six heavy-
lift Ariane 5 flights from the
Spaceport during 2011, along
with two initial launches of the medium-lift Soyuz, and the maiden flight of its lightweight Vega.

Additionally, three Soyuz flights from Baikonur Cosmodrome are slated for this year, to be performed on behalf of Arianespace by its Starsem affiliate​
 
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